It is the first day of the week and the weekend atmosphere still lingers in the air, and a special treat is sometimes in order rather than a quick lunch in the office.
It was thus that we landed at the Yuchu restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel last Monday for a bowl of "pulled noodles".
Yuchu is a spacious Chinese restaurant with contemporary design, an open kitchen and bamboo inspired decorations.
The restaurant offers a view of the Le Duan street, but the lively open kitchen took our fancy, especially because a cook started making the "pulled noodle," an artistic performance by itself.
It is obvious that a lot of practice has gone into achieving this skill. He shapes the dough into a string and "plays" with it, throwing it into the air, changing its chape all the time. All the while, the noodle is getting softer and softer. The smile, and pride, on his face tells us he is having a good time.
We ordered pulled noodles with seafood wanton soup and pulled noodles with mushroom and vegetables soup. For dessert. we chose double boiled bird nest with rock sugar and Chinese mango pudding.
The pulled noodle dishes were soft, fresh and tender, perfectly complementing the accompanying soups. For a light lunch, a bowl of pulled noodles for VND180,000 ++ is a healthy choice.
It was a hot day, and the double boiled bird nest with rock sugar was sweet and cooling, and hopefuly, would bring some good energy for the afternoon.
After lunch, we stayed a bit longer to talk to Tran Nhieu Minh, the Chinese chef of the restaurant.
Asiana Saigon hotel
Corner of Hai Ba Trung street & Le Duan street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tran said that to prepare pulled noodles for lunch, wheat flour should be mixed with egg in the morning at around 9a.m. and the mixture wrapped in a plastic bag for an hour before the cooking.
He said Yuchu serves Chinese food in Hong Kong style. "Hong Kong sauces are more modern. Less oil is used for cooking so the food is lighter than Chinese style," he said.
The restaurant changes the menu every three months, while retaining famous dishes like Beijing duck, Tran said.
Yuchu also serves a Dim Sum lunch everyday (VND330,000++ per person) that gives a hungry customer the choice of trying 38 different varieties of the dish.