Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hoang Ngan, Shibuya

In this unassuming Shibuya basement (near the back side / high side of Tokyu Hands - I didn't know this was called 'Spain Slope' until now) lurks...an unassuming Vietnamese restaurant with decent food, mediocre service, and weak cost performance! Sorry.

Fresh spring rolls, which did pretty much what it said on the tin - fresh rice noodles, shrimp and lettuce, wrapped up in rice paper. The dipping sauce was different in a way I couldn't quite put my finger on; possibly just that it wasn't spicy.

Another thing that wasn't spicy at all was this salad of green papaya - something I dearly love. I've been criticized in the past for calling Vietnamese food a weak version of Thai, but I can't forget getting somtam from street vendors and watching them pound little blue crabs into it, or mix in so much chili that I cried after a bite. Fond memories, pallidly imitated.

Beef stir-fy with lemon grass. With a sticky-sweet sauce, this was nice although it did provoke a comment from the peanut gallery about 'Yoshinoya gyudon'.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the restaurant was this poster, which advertises the 'Passion for You' of these two ladies in Party-line red aodai (which were, ironically, condemmed by the Party in the past for being decadent). I'm afraid that passion wasn't shared by the staff, who were distinctly sullen to us. The food could make up for that pretty easily, and we thought the cost performance was very good until we realized the price was 30% higher than expected.

Still, any day with green papaya is a good day.

1 comment:

  1. I've been there a few times, and would agree with you, except IMHO that the food is mediocre too.