Kafe Vietnam @ Puchong

September 3, 2014

Seeking a one-stop outlet for feasts of banh mi, pho & plenty of other delicacies, prepared by chefs from Ho Chi Minh City? Search no further; Kafe Vietnam could stake a legitimate claim to be called one of the Klang Valley's best Vietnamese eateries.

 Kafe Vietnam is run by Malaysian hotel industry veteran Justin & his Vietnamese wife Dona; the friendly couple opened this restaurant to serve a true taste of Vietnamese cuisine, roping in Dona's nephew to helm the kitchen. Customers heading here can look out for the mannequin outside, garbed in one of Dona's traditional 'ao dai' outfits.

The selection here is beyond extensive, but begin with banh mi; the beloved sandwich tastes pretty much like it would back in Dona's homeland - fresh baguettes, baked by Kafe Vietnam, brimming with the essential components. Have it with pork slices, ham & pate (RM8.90) ...

 ... or with 'xiu mai' meatballs (RM7.90) or sardines (RM7.90). Compulsively edible & - like everything else here - fairly priced.

 Kafe Vietnam offers many recipes that no other outlet in KL or Selangor serves. We're instant fans of the salad of boiled prawns & pork belly (RM13.90), served with strands of chewy 'jelly' & crackers brought over from Vietnam. It's an immensely fun snack, ideal for sharing with friends or family members to whet the appetite.

 Another should-try: 'Lala' clam meat, fragrantly fried with saffron & nuts, partnered with crisp sesame seed rice crackers. Memorably tasty, texturally terrific; a superb steal for RM17.90. We'd happily have this again.

 Here's one of Dona's top specialities: Duck cooked with fermented bean curd & yam, crowned in a hot pot with choy sum, kangkung & mustard greens (RM31.90 for a portion that three can share). Commandingly creamy & compellingly savoury; enjoy it with noodles for some perfect rainy-night comfort.

 Sure, Puchong might seem like a faraway land for some customers, but it's worth travelling here for Kafe Vietnam's painstakingly executed food. It's no wonder many Vietnamese migrants who live in Puchong can be found having meals here.

 Rice-paper wraps are also a cornerstone of Kafe Vietnam's repertoire; we tried the boneless pork knuckle version (RM15.90), but other options include deep-fried tilapia & steamed pork belly.

Delicious with house-made dips; flavours here are expertly balanced, ensuring that each bite leaves us wanting more.

 The classic prawn spring roll is satisfying here, while another wrapped with minced pork proves aromatically addictive.

 Two full pages of noodles are available; for folks who can't decide, the recommended crowd favourite might be the 'bun bo hue' (RM14.90), a slurp-worthy bowl of thick rice noodles with Hue-style sliced beef & ham.

Seafood is a big deal at Kafe Vietnam; we couldn't stop munching on these moreish fried baby squid (RM14.90).

 Also intriguing but a bit muddy-tasting: Basa catfish, native to the Mekong & Chao Phraya basins, cooked in a peppery sauce.

 Even beverages make Kafe Vietnam a worthwhile visit: We love the ciku ice-blended (no surprise, since it's our favourite fruit), rich, smooth & natural-tasting.

 Sour sop smoothies & nangka ice-blendeds are also available; refreshing drinks, though the latter is an acquired taste.

 Coffee isn't an afterthought at Kafe Vietnam; the restaurant's blend includes beans from the Dalat highland plantations.

 Che ba mau (RM7.90), a dessert with jelly & beans, wraps up this outing; many thanks to Justin & Dona for hosting this dinner.

Kafe Vietnam
1 Jalan Puteri 4/1, Bandar Puteri Puchong, Selangor
Open 10am-10pm. Closed Wednesday & Thursday every two weeks. For example, it's closed this week on Wednesday & Thursday (Sept. 3-4), but it will be open on Wednesday & Thursday next week. Open on all other days, including weekends.

This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.

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