When i found out there was a Vietnamese restaurant in Nairobi, I was ecstatic and memories of my care free university days came in a gush. I ate a lot of Vietnamese food when I was in university because it was cheap and tasted good. Bowls of pho and pork chops from a divey restaurant near my campus were my lifeline throughout my student life.
The restaurant has no name and is located on the top floor of the Hardy Post Shopping Mall in Karen. It’s adjacent to the Nothing Like It Hair Salon – In fact the salon and restaurant are owned by the same people who are Vietnamese. The sitting area is on a balcony with a very basic setup of tables and chairs nestled in between a dance studio and a salon, so expect a lot of foot traffic by your table.
Vietnamese food is very distinct and I love it mostly for its light and fresh qualities. The menu here is small and is displayed on chalk boards. Most of the meals are priced at Kshs 1,200 which I found very expensive. In this instance, my curiosity overcame my pocket pinching ways because where else will i find a Vietnamese Restaurant in Nairobi?
Pho Noodle Soup – 1200
Pho is a popular dish that defines Vietnamese cuisine for most. Its a noodle soup characterized by a light clear broth, tender beef, rice noodles and herbs. The soup is accompanied with a plate of condiments such as basil and lemon to add to the soup – a step that cannot be skipped. If you haven’t figured yet, I love noodle soups and this bowl delivered. This is a simple and wholesome noodle dish you have to try.
Crispy Beef Noodles – 1200
What you get are deep fried noodles that are topped with stir fried beef and vegetables. The noodles are extremely crunchy and the beef and vegetables were very flavourful, and accompanied the noodles great. I enjoyed the dish much more than I thought I would.
Vietnamese Stir Fried Chicken – 1200
I loved this chicken! Its basically nuggets of well flavoured chicken topped with a light sweet sauce. On first impressions, the meal like like it would be dry but the chicken is so flavourful and carries the rice brilliantly even with the absence of sauce (there is a spicy sauce on the side if you would like). A good choice from the menu.
Tofu Rice Paper Spring Rolls – 400
These are rolls of health with tofu, carrots, rice noodles and herbs that are extremely fresh tasting. The peanut dipping sauce is the cornerstone to the rolls because it adds a punch of flavour. Delicious
The food here is generally good. My biggest dispute is the pricing which I find way too high for what is offered. These are the kind of prices you get at high end establishments who deliver on a whole experience including ambience which is non-existent here. To be honest, I wouldn’t come back because of the high prices, but if you’re monied and looking for a Vietnamese restaurant in Nairobi, this a place worth visiting.