Vietnamese cuisine to savour at Song Ngu

Vietnamese fare may be the draw at Song Ngu in New Ocean World Fine Food City, but its decor comes a close second. Walking past the colourful walls and table settings, you stop short at a giant mural of a Vietnamese girl in her ao dai and hat.

Vietnamese Crepe Pancake, light and crispy

The kitchen is helmed by a full Vietnamese crew, so we were all set for Vietnamese dishes from Ho Chih Minh City, Hue and Hoi An, among others. We begin with delicate Hue Steamed Rice Cakes, topped with crushed dried shrimps and chopped spring onions, served with a light dipping sauce with chilli, garlic and fish sauce. These thin, moist rice cakes make delicate savoury bites.

Hue Steamed Rice Cakes

The peanut dipping sauce stood out for the Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls of shrimps, vermicelli and vegetables. Crunchy peanuts and fried shallots topped this thick sauce which complemented well the spring rolls.

Fresh Spring Rolls with a peanut dip

I enjoyed the Vietnamese Crepe Pancake or Banh Xeo Tom which was crispy and light, tinged yellow from turmeric in the batter, and filled with mung beans, onions and spring onion. It came with fresh basil, mint and lettuce, which we could have done a wrap with.

The Mango Salad with shrimps had balanced flavours of sweet and sour from a subtle fish-sauce-based dressing, and topped with peanuts. It was served with shrimp crackers.


Beef Pho

We shared the Beef Pho with beef balls, rare beef and brisket, with fresh basil, sawtooth coriander and beansprouts. The stock for the pho was flavourful and light and I liked the chilli sauce with a dab of Vietnamese oyster sauce as dip for the meat and beef balls. It’s a Ho Chi Minh-style beef pho.

Shaking Beef Rice

Shaking Beef or Bo Luc Lac, is cubed steak in a soy sauce marination, tossed in a wok for even searing, together with onions, garlic, and peppers. Luc lac means to shake in Vietnamese (as in the wok). It was served with rice, soy dipping sauce with chilli, and fresh vegetables. The meat was juicy, tender and flavourful and I rather liked the sweet potato slices with it.

Duck Curry with baguette

It was the first time I had Vietnamese Duck Curry, served with slices of freshly baked baguette. It was a creamy turmeric curry tinged with sweetness from pumpkin, and was delightful with the crusty baguette.

Then we had the Hoi An Chicken Rice. It’s broken rice cooked with turmeric, accompanied with chicken slices combined with herbs and carrot strips. A spicy chilli oil dip goes with it.

Hoi An Chicken Rice

The dishes are reasonably priced, such as RM21 for the Hoi An Chicken Rice, RM25 for the Shaking Beef Rice and Beef Pho, RM 12.30 for the Crepe Pancake and RM13.50 for the Steamed Rice Cake.

Song Ngu is pork-free, as are all the restaurants in New Ocean World.

New Ocean World Fine Food City is the latest gastronomic landmark in Petaling Jaya with 22 restaurants on seven floors, a pillarless grand ballroom that can accommodate 3,000 people, and a rooftop cigar library, with a 360-degree view of the city. Among the restaurants here are a Greek one, Mongolian, Japanese, Thai, Beijing Roast Duck, Vegetarian and Cantonese Cuisine and Shunde, Vietnamese and Japanese dessert restaurants.

Song Ngu is at L3-09, Level 3, New Ocean World, 15 Jalan 19/1, Seksyen 19, Petaling Jaya, tel 03-8408 8027, 012 988 2376.

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