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Report : Chit Chat Lang Nuong at Grand Century Mall, SJ

PekoePeony | May 15, 2006 03:35 PM

On Friday eve my bf and I pulled into Grand Century Mall around 9.30pm for dinner and noticed that the new Chit Chat Lang Nuong Restaurant was open. My bf mentioned that Lang Nuong (Grill Village) restaurants were very popular in Vietnam when he visited last year -- he described them as a cross between an izakaya and Korean BBQ, where you would drink a lot and grill various dishes at your table -- and so we decided to try it out.

Upon opening the door, we were assaulted by Vietnamese pop music from what we assumed to be a guy singing karaoke. Later we discovered that he and a lady were the live entertainment for the night. The volume was quite loud, the singers didn't seem to be very good, and unfortunately I don't understand Vietnamese (I think I was the only non-Vietnamese person the whole night) and so I didn't enjoy the entertainment.

The room is divided into two -- in my disorientation from the loud music I didn't get a good look at the empty front area, but we were seated on big cushy armchairs behind a coffee table in the back, facing the singers. A plasma TV (no sound) showing ESPN was located above the singers. With the couches, TV, and coffee table, my bf mentioned he felt like he was at home :) About 2/3 of the back area was filled, either by groups of men or with a couple of groups of families. A small group of women also appeared later on.

My bf ordered the following (sorry I don't remember the exact names from the menu):

* Snails in coconut curry ($20): A portable gas burner was brought out and a clay pot with the snails was put on top of that. Snails are quite common in Vietnamese cuisine (my bf's mom, who used to work as a caterer in Saigon, uses them frequently), and these were small (about 1" to 1.5" long) and conical-shaped. The pointed tips of each snail was snipped off, and we were instructed to eat the snails by sucking the meat out of the snipped-off end. These snails were really quite tasty, perfectly enhanced by the spicy brown coconut curry (other than basil, coconut and fish sauce, I'm not sure what was in it). I'd definitely order this again.

* Grilled duck marinated in fermented soybeans ($20): All the grilled items were cooked in the kitchen and brought out instead of our cooking them at the table. While it had a nice rich flavor, the duck was rather bony, dry and overly chewy; I didn't care for this dish and wouldn't order it again. It was served with a vinegary sesame sauce that I didn't think added to the duck.

I also ordered a mango shake, which was very creamy and delicious (but not very mango-y), and we were served some complimentary spiced peanuts which were overboiled and mushy.

Overall I'd be willing to go to this restaurant again to try some of the other interesting dishes on the menu (several of the groups around us were ordering hot pot), but I wouldn't be rushing back due to the annoying (to me) loud music and the somewhat high prices.

Link: http://www.offtherails.com/rat.html

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