Spoil your tongue at Blue Crab
By Ann Wheaton in HCMC
We were alerted to the recent opening of a small restaurant ‘The Blue Crab’ by a notice on An Phu Neighbours (the local expatriate on-line newsletter), as the address indicated that it was not too far from home we decided to make it our Saturday night venue. As it turned out the restaurant was only a few minutes from home on Quoc Huong Street tucked in between a grain merchants on the one side and a fresh juice and dessert cafe on the other. In traditional Vietnamese style the restaurant has tables and chairs set up outside the front entrance and we decided, on this relatively balmy evening, that we would soak up the atmosphere of our surroundings and watch the locals going about their business. The restaurant interior is cooled by fans and presents a calm alternative. The decor is simple and fresh with wooden chairs and tables dressed by thick paper table covers.
|A view of The Blue Crab Restaurant in HCMC’s District 2 - Photo: Ann Wheaton|
We were greeted by a tall friendly man whom, we learnt, was Alex. He and his wife Van had opened ‘The Blue Crab’ with a view to giving expatriates a taste of Vietnamese food at its best but at small Vietnamese prices. They are an international couple themselves, Alex originally from Paris and then Los Angeles and Van traveling from Vietnam to Canada to work. Now they are back in HCMC with a fusion of international experience and Vietnamese food at their fingertips.
Our expertise in things ‘crabby’ was not extensive so we decided to rely on the expert help of our host to illuminate us. The final decision was reinforced by another western family sitting enjoying the last remnants of their ‘Duck Tongue marinated in salt and chilli’ to which they gave us the ‘thumbs up’, despite my reservations my husband was intrigued and on such recommendation we ordered it.
We commenced with ‘Glass Noodles Stir Fried with Veggies and Blue Crab Chunks’ (VND40,000) and asked if our crab could be taken out of the shell for easier consumption, although we noticed the young children armed with crab pincers and hammer on the next table were enjoying their endeavours.
The dish was presented in large bowls floating in a very tasty soup, the vegetables and duck were fresh and well cooked with a variety of delightful textural combinations. After this satisfying course we watched Van on the outside barbeque tossing our Duck’s tongue and fanning the smoke which ensued, infusing the delicious smells into the air and wetting our appetites.
The Duck Tongue (VND40,000) was served on skewers with a small salad and was certainly different and very tasty. I am looking forward to sampling the Goat’s Breast on my next visit. Alex and Van have opened a venue worthy of our support and although ‘The Blue Crab’ denotes a predilection to this crustacean there are certainly other very worthy dishes for those not sharing this partiality.
Total bill for two including soft drinks is VND160,000.
The Blue Crab, 49D Quoc Huong Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, HCMC. Tel: (08) 3744 2008.