Thursday, 22 December 2011

Ngoc Han Restaurant: Vietnamese and Asian Cuisine

Ngoc Han Restaurant on Urbanspoon
I love my parents. I know I can be a brat sometimes but I know they still love me all the same.
That's the good thing about parents, you know you've always got them when you've got nothing else.
I love you Mum n Dad. I don't know why the easiest things are so hard to say sometimes.

As we grow bigger & bigger, they grow older and more frail. It's an undeniable fact that scares me because it's just so true, so unavoidable. I try to spend more time with them nowadays. Cherish them. Obey them. Missed them when they abandoned me and went holidaying for a month and subsequently meant me eating takeout for a month. Got accustomed to life without parents. "Whaaaaat, already?" when it was time for them to come home. Have lunch with them on their first day back home. Realised I was glad to have them back with me :)

But not before I left them stranded outside the house with their luggage ringing the doorbell for 10 minutes, yelled at them for waking me at 11am and tumbled back into bed.
I was a much more pleasant daughter when I awoke at 2pm.
Love you Mum n Dad :)

I love how my menu changes when they are back. I also love how my wallet changes when they are back. From mine, to theirs. Heh. Yes I use and abuse and I mooch off my parents just like the rest of you do =]

Bun Bo Xao - $10.50
Back when I didn't know variety or how to read, I would go for pho as the staple dish, every single time without fail. Now that I want to try everything and can read, I go for the bun bo xao every single time without fail. Now that itself, is pretty fail. Considering I can now read and aim for variety.

I find a good dish, overdose on it, get bored, find a new good dish, fall in love, spam it, get bored, find a newer good dish etcetera etcetera. It's a vicious cycle and now my current stop is at the bun bo xao's of the Vietnamese cuisine train. I hop around places hunting for the best version of it. Yet to reach final destinations or come to any conclusions thus far though!

I enjoy this dish because it's so light and tastes so fresh and healthy and doesn't make me feel crap after eating it. With a good mix of protein to vegetables, I feel like I'm eating a salad. Vaguely. Which I hate cause salad is like...eating grass but at the same time, grass does my health and body justice so I feel good for eating the stuff. I know the tender braised beef, crunchy roasted peanuts and salty, probably calorific Vietnamese sauce wouldn't be in a Dietician's good books, but plain rice noodles and the abundance of lettuce and bean sprouts probably would be!

It's an awesome array of flavours, textures and temperatures in your bowl, and same goes for your mouth.

Bun Bo Xao serving
It's good how most places serve that additional sauce on the side so that you can have as much or as little as you please. So in easier language, if you want your dish to taste better you add more, but you'd have to deal with it stinking more. Stink less, add less, taste...less.

I wouldn't go as far to say it stinks cause this wouldn't be my own thoughts and fish sauce is a prominent ingredient as far as Vietnamese cuisine goes and I'm glad it is. It does have a distinct recognisable odour which to some may be pungent, strong and offputting. And that's enough to get me excited and lure me in LOL. Cause to me, it just Vietnamese =)

Savoury fish sauce yet sweet and slightly tangy with a tinge of hotness from the addition of chilli, it's a combination of different flavours that gives food a real boost in flavour, if Viet food even needs that boost at all.

Pho Tai La Sach - $9.50
When one thinks of this Asian cuisine, one would probably think of pho - pronounced fur said in an accentuated way. I am fluent in food-speak in many languages, such is the talent that I possess =p And such is the appetite that I possess in order to nurture that talent :)

With the variations of pho, this is one that includes raw beef slices and offal with flat hor fun in a typically flavoursome beef based stock. If you dislike beef, this is your nightmare. This particular dish has beef ev-er-y-thing and I mean it. I just googled offal and the results were enough to amuse me:

1. Waste parts, especially of a butchered animal
2. Refuse, rubbish

Oh dear. I have a deep profound love for garbage and waste. Animal waste, to make that sound even more delicious.

Pho Dac Biet - $10.50
This is the variation to choose to get a well-rounded taste of what the fuss of pho is all about. This is the pho combination of meats and bits and pieces of "rubbish" in that same beef soup. It has a bit of everything beef, plus more beefy products. Like I said before, this is living hell if you hate beef.

It's in all its forms here - soup, sliced, rare, cooked, venison, beef tail, balls (not the kind you immediately thought of). Though I gotta say I vaguely remember eaten something rather putrid which I was unaware at the time as I was told it was innocent meat and I so innocently believed. I'll spare you the details.

I especially love the garnishes with all the sprigs of mints, abundant and always making an appearance in Vietnamese cuisine. The coarsely ground pepper cracked into the soup gives it an extra bite, or maybe its just me thinking adding pepper makes anything more extravagant.
(Which is what I feel when I say YES to pepper offers at restaurants... so I never refuse.) =p

Goat Curry
Usually if I sight something other than beef, chicken, fish, pork, any usual suspects you'd expect in a menu, I would order it. GOAT?! I'd jump on that. How often would you come across weird and wonderful things like that in Perth?

This came out in a shallow dish with a gravy puddle so vividly red that it looked somewhat unnatural. But it was tasty all the same regardless of how much colouring went in to produce that result. I could also do with more meat, seeing as most of that dish was big chunky bones everywhere.

The meat was tender and nice to eat, when it wasn't bone that I was eating instead. This was one skinny goat. I wish it ate more, so that I got to eat more!

Steamed rice & sides
As far as presentation goes, this didn't go very far, but its simplicity makes it go a long way. There's something about the way everything is arranged on this plate which made me want to leave it be. All the colours were vibrant with visually soft and hard textured ingredients together.

Ok, I'm aware I just made that sound a bit overdone. If there was no picture to go with it, you'd probably imagine something resembling a work of art and then scoff when you see the picture, since this was merely rice, tomato, cucumber, lemon, salt, chilli sauce and cracked pepper on a plate. There, I'm back down to earth now.

But still. It's pretty right?

Com Trang Carry De - $12.80
The curry gravy, albeit normal, was surprisingly addictive to keep eating. We were meant to eat just a little for breakfast (at 3.30pm...) since we had a buffet planned for dinner (planning your next meal during your current one is ESSENTIAL!) but we couldn't help and get another bowl of steamed rice to soak up the remaining bloody good curry juice, long after all the meat was gone.

Curry gravy on rice is as good as a meal on its own than any other meal. Simplicity here would taste good, but just won't look good. At all.

I quite like lemon based sauces and the like. I grew very fond of my lemony, spicy, salty and peppery dipping dish and proceeded to eat the sauce, as I usually do in a normal day of my life.
As I gulped it down from my spoon I'd realised how big the grains of salt were, and how many there were, and how undissolved they were in my sauce combination.
Oh man. I just swallowed a heart attack.

Soursop Smoothie - $4.80
Om nom nom. Asian style smoothies are the absolute bomb! Unlike the boring flavours you spot in menus, you spot more exciting ingredients here in Asian restaurants like durian, avocado, jackfruit and soursop. Soursop. Soursop? Soursop! I can't get over that word. Its so weird but it tastes so great. I typed all that while saying it. It still sounds foreign as!

Smoothies of this kind always come in a tall glass and being all luscious looking, seduces me every time. It tastes so REAL and FRESH and I'm so attracted to those qualities. I down it ever so quickly and it always disappears too fast too soon.

Good things just never seem to last at all.


This place stays open from morning to night and doesn't close down during the epic quiet time from 2.30pm to 5pm like most restaurants. Which is something I appreciate a lot, considering my breakfast ranges anywhere from noon to about 6pm. I like to surprise my stomach by shoving food in randomly at unexpected times so it's nice to be able to get a feed and do that whenever I wish to.

It's never been busy when I come eat here but that's not to say the quality or anything is bad. I just come at stupid times because of my stupid body clock and stupid eating/sleeping hours. Its location is quite secluded but because of this there are HEAPS, PLENTY, TOO MANY parking spaces. Yay! Always a positive point when it comes to eating out.

The decor is quite modern and has quite a relaxing ambience to it, I like! Purple walls with abstract and vibrant artwork on the walls along with pretty, pretty lampshades all add a touch of difference to the interior, along with the furniture. One staff working the floor, laden with make up and tight clothing. Always! Lol.

To my understanding the establishment has changed ownership and so has also changed names. I've heard others say the quality and servings of food has dropped since, but I myself haven't noticed that significant of a change. Perhaps I am just a food noob. In which case this is a crap blog but...ah well, I have my fun still :) I think it's something worth being happy about as I have finally found something where my passion lies, and gives me a haven to escape from the world when I need to.

Thanks for the support, since you are reading! Truly grateful to have at least one person interested ;)

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