The Vietnamese Snack Food Café is a newly opened, Thumbelina sized restaurant in Cluster Q of JLT. It brings to three the number of Vietnamese restaurants in the JLT clusters. Does that mean Vietnamese is becoming the next culinary trend? If yes, good for us. Perhaps in an effort to establish its authenticity, every single person working at this miniscule eatery is Vietnamese – chefs, staff, everyone. Indoor dining space is limited, giving cosy a whole new meaning. There is an outdoor dining area but realistically it’s pretty much irrelevant from now till October.
VSFC’s menu is short and sweet and covers most of the favourites. My family and I stuck to dishes we know ordering a couple of starters and soup bowls, Pho and Bun Mang Vit, for our mains. The Gỏi cuốn, Vietnamese cold rolls, were a disappointment mainly because the opaque rice paper wrappers (bánh tráng) were so sticky. Sadly, the Cha Gio, crispy spring rolls were no better, suffering from a stuffing which was totally tasteless.
The Pho and Bun Mang Vit however were right on the money. My son ordered beef while the girls ordered chicken. I preferred my son’s beef pho by far. Bun Mang Vit is a rice vermicelli duck noodle soup with bamboo shoot. If you like the taste of bamboo I strongly recommend you try this hugely flavoursome soup. VSFC’s is superb. But our favouite dish of the meal was their outstanding Cơm Ga Hoi An or Hoi An Chicken Rice. It’s similar to Hainanese chicken rice with one main difference, the chicken here is grilled rather than poached. VSFC simply has this dish nailed. We also had the delicious stir-fried water spinach with garlic (Rau muống xào tỏi).
I found the staff at Vietnamese Snack Food Café friendly, attentive and accommodating. The young lady looking after our table did a splendid job. And the chefs came out to say hi to us.
My family and I are die-hard Vietnamese Foodies fans so I knew looking objectively at any new Vietnamese restaurant was always going to be fraught with bias. As expected, all three of them said they liked the food (minus the cold and spring rolls) but preferred Lily’s restaurant in Cluster D. I agree with them about the starters but feel this new venue has its own unique strengths. It may not be as well rounded as Vietnamese Foodies or even JLT veteran Hanoi Naturally, but I still think it’s well worth a visit… especially for its amazing Cơm Ga Hoi An and Bun Mang Vit.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.