Wednesday, January 4, 2012

saigon night.



I can't remember ever drooling more over food photos than when I uploaded these. 
They hurt me to look at. 
I want this SO BAD RIGHT NOW.

Ok, I'll stop.

Our family used to go to Saigon Night's old Victoria location next door to the Odeon Theatre all the time. Then they moved and I went away to university and came back and assumed that they'd shut down and idiotically never asked anyone about it and was brokenhearted but somehow picked up the pieces and moved on with my life.

Until a few weeks ago when my heart sang when I heard my brother say their name and subsequently learned that they were still open, still serving my favourite two dishes, and had just moved locations.

I hadn't been in years, but I could remember exactly what the stuff I loved tasted like and I was dying to go back. 

And so, earlier this week, we did.

And my god, it was as good as ever.

Ever have a dish so good that it just spoils every other dish like it for you that you subsequently try? This is what this tofu did for me. I don't even LIKE tofu. Nor does my brother, mom, or dad. This stuff? I could happily eat every day for the rest of my life. Perfectly crisped on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, drizzled with the most amazing, thick savoury ginger sauce you'll ever taste and topped with chopped scallions and slivers of real ginger. 

I straight up fought my brother over the last few pieces and then drained the sauce from the bowl like it was a soup. 
Not kidding. 
Thank god we went for a 2:30 lunch and there was no one else in the restaurant at the time.

Next up is a dish that might quite seriously, non-exaggeratedly, make my top five favourite of life. 

Banh Tam - or thick udon noodles topped with grilled and shredded pork and and a rich, creamy coconut sauce. 

But this isn't your run of the mill coconut-milk-based curry sauce like you're probably imagining which would make it yummy but not special whatsoever. No, this is the most delicious and unique coconut sauce I've ever tasted. It's flavour is just pure, real, creamy coconut. 

The dish comes with a saucer of slightly spicy, vinegary sauce that you can drizzle over the noodles - and I highly recommend you do (but not all of it, or the sauce becomes too watery!) That, combined with the silky coconut noodles and the savory, crisp grilled and shredded pork makes for the dreamiest combination of textures and flavours you could ever imagine. 

I don't think I've ever tasted anything quite like this, and I'm sad for you if you live in or near Victoria and proceed through life without treating yourself to a heaping plate of Saigon Night's banh tam. 

I'll leave it at that.

To mix it up we tried another dish, the Bun Bo, which was rice vermicelli noodles with crispy chicken, lemongrass, onions and peanuts and the same vinegary sauce on the side to toss with.

While it was good, this reinforced my creature-of-habit ways and fear of ordering anything new. It didn't hold a candle to my favourites (to me, at least). The level of flavour was just not there. Anywayyyys...

Based on the online reviews (92% on UrbanSpoon) I'm not alone in my love for this place.

Go, go, and do exactly what I've told you.

And thank me later in the form of gift certificates to eat there once a week for the rest of my days.

k, bye!

Saigon Night
915 Fort Street, Victoria, B.C.


  1. Bring some back on the plane for me? I think it could withstand the flight. I'll be at your house around 7:15pm for dinner? puurrrfect.
    Can't wait to see you! And eat some tasty things together in 2012!

  2. why have I never even heard of this place??

  3. i've never heard of this place either!!! haha your write up along with this made me lol. miss you x

  4. It was always kind of a little hole-in-the-wall place, although their new location is a lot bigger/swankier than the last. It's SO worth it. We'll all go next time we're together in Vic!

  5. If anyone can link me to a similar coconut milk sauce I would be thrilled! I've been going to saigon night since I was a kid and it's by far one of my most favourite restaurants.

    1. I would love to know too! Either recipe or restaurant. Haven't been able to find anything that even comes close to rivaling this.