What do you do on a Monday afternoon if given the choice, ours was the Vietnamese food festival at one of our favourite places to eat, Hyatt! We had to go.

Vietnamese food is known to be very well balanced, based on the principals of Yin and Yang where every dish should have a distinctive flavour.

Nonya is a restaurant that is welcoming, spacious and invites you in for a wonderful culinary experience. For the Vietnamese food festival they have their own special do….the waiters and attendants were all dressed in bright yellow ‘Ao Gam’, setting the visual mood for testing. We were hooked from the moment we entered.

The menu was very well designed and we had our own Table D’hote menu, delicately held with a blue ribbon. We opened it and started imagining the ingredients, the aroma, appearance and taste of the food. All the dishes were very well explained and served the purpose of teasing our palate with anticipation.

As we sat we were served glasses of Apple and banana shake. I liked the banana shake, it tasted pretty much like my kick start morning drink, however the apple one had to be sent back since it just tasted like plain milk. When we got a replacement, we were definitely happier.

After a bit of waiting, for the other tasters to arrive, we got our serving of the soup named… Cahn Chua: A Vietnamese spicy and sour soup with pineapple, vegetable and choice of fish. It was delectable to say the least. The spice with sweetness and the acidity complemented each other perfectly. The pieces of fish were so delicately done that it just melted in our mouth. What a great start it was. We were further impressed when the chef explained how the chilly infused stock was used to bring about the spice in the soup. I bit into a red chilly and man, it accentuated the taste even further. A big 5/5 for the soup from us.

  • Appetizers:

Banh Xeo: Crispy crepes stuffed with onions, scallion and bean sprouts. Thin, delicious and perfectly seasoned. Very light in their taste, flavour. I loved it with the sweet and sour peanut dip that was served at the table separately.

Goi Cuon: Vietnamese rice paper rolls with shrimps. One bite and it was gone, perfect.

This is a cold salad roll, I must say the shrimp in it was absolutely fresh. In fact, all the shrimp and sea food served was really fresh. We were also told that the rice paper rolls are brought in from Vietnam. That itself shows the effort that the hotel is putting in bringing the best to you.

At this point in time, we also got to talk to the chef, Mr. Ashish, who laid out all the fresh ingredients that they used to make the food. Imported mango, kafir leaf, bok choy, rice rolls, galangal root, fresh lemon grass had us all intrigued and impressed.

Banh Goi: Mushroom and glass noodles parcels. Stuffed to the maximum and flavoursome, we had to eat more than one of these. Ah! those mushrooms.

But LO AND BEHOLD…my favourite, was the Raw papaya, mango and prawn salad. If there is one dish that explains the yin and yang of Vietnamese food, it is this. It was absolutely crisp fresh, salty, sweet, tangy, spicy, umami…et all! The prawns were light and delicate and a perfect blend with the rest of the spicy sweet mix. A brilliant jamboree treat in the mouth. Of course a second helping was needed to satiate us. If you fear spicy, watch out for this one.

  • Main course: Yes…we managed to keep some appetite for the main course in spite of enjoying every bit of the appetizers. It’s a part of our job, remember?

Ca tim kho to: meaning..sautéed eggplant with soy tomato and ginger. I am an eggplant fan, and I love how non Indian cuisines use with light subtle and light flavours without over cooking it. I totally loved it, in spite of a sauté it held its colour, taste and texture.

The star of the main course was the Sautéed betel leaves and lemon grass with chicken/ tenderloin. I found the tenderloin a tad salty but it was tender and a tender tenderloin is itself a great find in Ahmedabad. Needless to say, we had to go for a second helping on this one too. It was soft, really well done, just perfectly prepared and appeared rich and inviting. The lemon grass and beetle leaf gave it great company. The chicken version was the spicier of the two.

Ca Cho to: Caramelized fish in clay pot: Yay…fish that is not Basa!!! Loved it. The fish was heavenly, the fish tender and tasty. This is a very popular Vietnamese dish and I am glad that the folks at Hyatt brought it to the menu.

Cha na hanoi: Of all that I ate, this was probably the least exciting. I found the fish dry and bland and as compared to the other fare, this lacked in flavour and individuality and presentation. The turmeric flavour and colour was prominent. The lemon grass was not noted at all.

Com Rang: Vietnamese vegetable fried rice and Stir fried noodles.
Both were delicious and had a good mix of vegetables, brightness, colour and texture. Rice in particular was really good.

  • Deserts, Ahhh!!!

Bahn Cam & Coffee tart: Sesame crusted deep fried rice flour dumplings and a coffee tart.

We had different takes on this one. While I like the sesame crusty hard exterior and the doughy by buttery tasting soft insides, my friend thought it was just too hard to bite into and enjoy. If you like a good bite, I suggest you go for this. In fact this was a great accompaniment to the extremely sweet coffee tart. You cant stop at it with just a single bite, the intensity of coffee almost startles you. And then it gets caramel sweet and that when a good bite of Bahn cam comes to change the palate back to normal.

Very interesting and a perfect finish to a lavish affair. Did I mention the jasmine tea in the end? We strongly suggest you do not leave the table without it.

Our experience was enriched not only by the food but also the knowledge that the General Manager Girish shared with us about the similarities of Vietnamese and Gujarati food. The balance of flavours and the ‘Satvikta’ or freshness that goes in every dish is the central philosophy of Vietnamese food, and I think Nonya captured it beautifully.

A must try for all food lovers… Ăn ngon nhé! (Bon appetite)

The festival is on till 22nd March, so GOYA and tingle your taste buds

How to get there:

Vietnamese food festival at Nonya, Hyatt
Taste and Quality
  • Something different
  • Delicious
  • Free (we were tasters)
  • Service seemed a little slow
  • Meat and Fish were frozen
4.3Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

About The Author

The Eloquent

Sandy is very Indian, very Amdavadi, who loves street food as much as restaurant food and can eat out everyday.

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