Save the date…

This goes all the way back to my last trip to Kuching – I was fully-booked throughout the duration of my stay there at the time so when I came back, my cousin sent word asking me to save the date – 11th December, the day when we would arrive in Kuching, to go for dinner with him and his family here

Le Saigon

…in the building they have constructed right in front of their house (not accessible through any back door, fortunately or unfortunately), followed by dessert a few doors away (but that will be in the next post).

In the meantime, I went to one in Miri and let’s just say that it did not sweep me off my feet and I was not that inclined to go for another round of Vietnamese but since this was pre-arranged, there we were, all of us, that night.

The mum gave me a big loaf of her most delightful Christmas fruit pudding…

Auntie's Christmas fruit pudding
*Archive photo*

…that she would give me without fail every year and the sister rummaged through her belongings and found an old Hallmark card (I so love this commercial of theirs!!!) going all the way back to the 80’s and knowing how I love those old school greeting cards, she decided to part with it to give to me, isn’t that so sweet of her? Hallmark, no less!!!

Christmas fruit pudding & Hallmark card

Dinner was absolutely overwhelming, to say the least, and personally, my pick of the night would be this pork cooked in coconut water dish…

Le Saigon pork in coconut water

It was so so good, nicer than the lemon grass one…

Le Saigon lemon grass pork

…which was good too but I thought it paled in comparison.

We had these mini banh khot cakes…

Le Saigon mini banh khot cakes

…in Miri and were not all that impressed but the ones here were really very good and we sure enjoyed it a whole lot more than what we had previously.

The deep-fried spring rolls…

Le Saigon deep fried spring rolls

…were good too just that there was nothing that made them stand out as exclusively Vietnamese other than the fact that they used the traditional Vietnamese rice paper – we had tried frying our own and it was quite disastrous, definitely nowhere near as nicely-done as the ones here.

The Vietnamese rolls…

Vietnamese rolls

…on the other hand, were great – we could detect something in it that made it stand out, something like daun sireh (betel leaves).

The banh mi

Le Saigon banh mi

…was good – we had two versions, pork and prawn but no, my opinion of the French colonial-influenced Vietnamese delight has not changed – at the end of the day, it is what it is, a sandwich.

We liked the grilled eggplant in Miri and the one here…

Le Saigon grilled eggplant

…was no exception – it was just as nice!

The fried rice…

Le Saigon fried rice

…did not get me too excited and I thought our local chee loi (the balitong or the type that sticks to logs in the river) are much nicer than these gong gong, the Asian version of those escargots…

Le Saigon escargot

…another French-influenced Vietnamese dish, probably.

The pho

Le Siagon pho

…was good but it was this mangosteen salad…

Le Saigon mangosteen salad

…dish that caught me by surprise. I am never a fan of buah manggis – seasons come and seasons go and you will never see me eating it much less go out and buy but I enjoyed the salad so much that I made up my mind right away that come the next season, I would definitely go out and buy to try and make my own.

There certainly was a lot of food for the seven of us that night but we somehow managed to finish everything. My cousin said that she ordered a whole lot of dishes in small portions to let me try as many as possible, thank you so much to my uncle, auntie and cousins for an unforgettable dinner and the fruit pudding & card.

This place, I hear, is owned by a lawyer (son of a retired politician, Bintangor) who left his profession to go into the food business with his Vietnamese wife who holds the helm in the kitchen and judging by the crowd on an extremely wet (pouring cats and dogs) weekday night, it certainly looks like it is doing very well. We certainly had the most delightful dinner there that night and I can say without any reservations whatsoever, that if you are looking for a great place to go for dinner in Kuching, you should check this one out!

LE SAIGON VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT (1.515866, 110.352728) is located on the ground floor, Lot G6 & G7, Emporium, No.9, Jalan Tun Jugah in Kuching.