LG-28, Empire Shopping Gallery,
Jalan SS16/1, Subang Jaya
Tel: 03 -5022 2123/ 2122
Business hours: 10.00am-10.00pm; daily.
MUCH has been raved about Sao Nam’s Mangosteen and Prawn Salad, and it is easy to see why the restaurant’s signature item is popular — it uses a unique combination of ingredients to create a flavourful and refreshing dish.
Restaurant partner Paul Liao revealed that not a drop of oil is used in cooking the dish, and that outsiders have not been successful in their attempts to replicate that salad.
Sao Nam, which means “Star of Vietnam”, has relocated to its new outlet at Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Jaya from its previous premises at Plaza Damas.
Sao Nam’s internationally known eight-year-old outlet at Tengkat Tong Shin, Kuala Lumpur, has even been ranked #100 of 350 things to do in Kuala Lumpur by Lonely Planet travellers.
On the difference between the two restaurants, Liao said Sao Nam Subang Jaya highlights Northern and Central Vietnamese cuisine, while the KL outlet features Southern Vietnamese cuisine.
“Northern Vietnamese cuisine is more salty compared to the Southern region’s sweeter flavours, while the Central region is notable for its spicy food.”
“Vietnamese food generally features Chinese cuisine as its base, with Indian and French influences,” he said.
Liao said Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisine due to the generous use of fresh ingredients, including a wide range of herbs and vegetables, as well as cooking style.
Fish sauce and soy sauce are used as both flavourings and dipping sauces for nearly every dish.
For starters, he recommended the Combination Platter, featuring five types of appetisers.
The platter offers diners the opportunity to sample several Vietnamese appetisers at one go, namely the Fish Lemongrass, Prawn Spring Roll, Hue Spring Roll, Steamed Rice Cakes and Shrimp Cakes.
The Banh Xeo or Vietnamese Pancake is a bigger version of a typical pancake made with rice flour, turmeric, chicken, prawn and bean sprouts.
Those who must have rice can have it with some Chicken Lemongrass for their main course.
It features braised chicken with Vietnamese spices and fish sauce in a claypot.
Other main courses include Chicken Tamarind or Lime Sauce, Beef Stew, Beef in Coconut, Duck Orange, Squid or Beef with Vinegar Hot Pot, Fish or Lamb Curry, and Claypot Prawn.
For some DIY action, diners can order the Beef Bamboo Tube (also available in Chicken), whereby they scoop sauteed beef onto a piece of rice paper layered with vegetables, and eat it as a wrap.
If noodles are one’s preference, the Fish Sour Soup Noodle is a great option.
The light and fragrant soup makes use of fresh herbs, pineapple or star fruit, and fish that results in a sweet and sour flavour.
In addition, there are the Fish Dill Noodle, Hanoi Chicken Noodle Soup, Hue Beef Noodle Soup, and Red Noodle — a dish passed down from the Imperial court of Vietnam.
The Caramel Pumpkin is a unique seasonal dessert that diners should look out for.
The caramel custard is steamed in a pumpkin, and Liao said the dish’s natural sweetness is derived from the pumpkin.
Coffee connoisseurs should check out Sao Nam’s range of Vietnamese drip coffee which are made using its own range of coffee powder.
There are four variations: Vietnamese Arabica-culli, Vietnamese weasel coffee, Vietnamese Arabica — French mocha, and Triple A-grade Vietnamese Arabica coffee.
“Vietnamese coffees have a more French roast and nutty flavour,” said Liao.
Sao Nam Subang Jaya, whose kitchen is headed by Chef Luu Tru, is also able to cater to special orders and highlight a full repertoire of Vietnamese cuisine.
These special orders, which require at least two days advance notice, include dishes featuring lobster, crab, clams, eel, duck and squid.
Meanwhile, Sao Nam has a set lunch deal that is available from noon to 3pm.
Priced at RM18+ per set, it offers a range of rice and noodle dishes (for main courses), two spring rolls, salad and tea.
Liao said Sao Nam’s menu will be updated this month to include the Vietnamese Hot Pot (similar to steamboat), fried rice variations (a family favourite), and a vegetarian section (offering vegan dishes).
This is the writer’s observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.