Monday, March 31, 2008

Maui 2008: Vietnamese Cuisine

Completely NOT something we expected to try in Maui, but after a night of beers, wine & Absolute, we needed a cure...

We saw "Vietnamese Cuisine" when we visited Izakaya Matsu the night before, so instead of looking up a good V. Restaurant to go to (again, hungover), we decided to check it out.

The room was big, looked tacky (as with most V. places, which I don't really care), and barely had any customers at 1pm or so on Thursday.

I don't remember seeing Green Papaya Salad on many V. Restaurant menus, and only tried the Thai versions, so I thought.. why not, lets check out Maui's V. version. The carrots and papaya were soaked through with with nuoc mam (fish sauce, sugar, water, lime juice, etc), topped with chopped peanuts and 2 pieces of shrimp. The flavor was good, vegetables were addicting, and peanuts really worked well with the dish. The shrimp wasn't very fresh -- tasted rubbery like it was def. frozen for a while.

Summer Rolls - the nuoc mam sauce was good but it was stuffed with too much noodles, and pretty flavorless by itself. There was no pork inside, so I think it lacked that meaty saltiness... and again, the shrimp wasn’t especially fresh/crisp.

Purpose of our trip -- Pho Tai. Their soup base was very good, meat well cooked, but the noodles were of a thicker variety that was precooked and just dumped in the broth, so we had a hard time breaking it apart and hoping it'd soften (it didn't entirely). The plate of ingredients for us to put into the soup didn't look fresh either... the basil had these white stuff in one of the stems that seemed like mold. The lime slices where small, thin and yellow, so I asked for more... and the ones given were still small, thin and yellow. It just looked old...

It seemed like a wife-husband duo that was running the restaurant. Husband was eager to fill our waters, ask about the flavors of their food, and spoke about their salad with much excitement. Wife seemed annoyed, and simply wanted to take our order, give us the food, and give us a check.

overall – good flavors, but they definitely lack in freshness of ingredients. The noodles definitely need to be replaced -- tasted older and were way too thick.

Vietnamese Cuisine
(Azeka Center)

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