Saturday, 3 March 2012

South East Asian Food in Cardiff

One might think that I will not want to have anymore Asian food since I just got back from Malaysia and Singapore.

But how can I resist opportunities to try out new places in town?! These restaurants are not exactly brand new or just open in town, it is just that I only recently found out about them!

Pho Bac in Canton, Cardiff.

From the name of the restaurant, you can safely guess that it is a Vietnamese restaurant! I got really excited that there is finally a Vietnamese restaurant in town!

The last time I had Vietnamese food was during my holiday in Kota Kinabalu, it was not that exciting so I did not blog about it. KK food need to improve!

The last time I had GOOD Vietnamese cuisine in the UK was in Hoxton, London. When I say good, I mean very good!

The menu looked impressive with lots of authentic Vietnamese dishes like the Rice Paper Summer Rolls, Roast Pigeon, Beef Noodle Soup, Cold Vermicelli Salad etc.

Shredded mango and ginger Tilapia

The Tilapia with Shredded mango and ginger was delicious! Deep fried Tilapia with a nice crunch, accompanied by sweet, sour and slightly spicy sauce, to top it up with some summery flavour of mango - perfect South East Asian taste!

Cold Vermicelli Salad

The Cold Vermicelli Salad that I ordered was absolutely comparable with the one I had in Song Que last year! It was served similar with grilled pork, deep fried rolls, lots of julienne daikon, crushed peanuts and of course the signature mint leaves! Drizzle with the special Vietnamese sweet chilli sauce.

The grilled pork had a fragrant char-grilled taste to it and the spring rolls was nicely deep fried which added a crunchy texture to the dish.

The dish could have been better if they added julienne carrots and cucumber to make it even more like the original. But that is just me being a perfectionist in food, nevertheless, this one is good enough!

Crispy Noodle with Seafood

We also ordered the Crispy Noodle served with Seafood. This dish is not dissimilar to the Cantonese Crispy Noodle.

What took us by surprise was the sheer enormity of the dish! There was so much noodle and seafood at a reasonable price of GBP 8!

The noodle was nicely fried and maintained a nice crunch, with a thick tasty sauce giving a nice fresh seafood flavour to it. I must also praise the well cooked squid as it was not chewy at all and had a very soft texture. So nice that I could have the squid all day long (just joking, need to watch the cholesterol!).

Vietnamese done, Malaysian next!

1Malaysia - where food is 'prepared with high authenticity and originality, eliminating commercial flavour!"

After dining here, we can surely vouch for that brave claim of bringing original and authentic Malaysian flavours to Cardiff!


For starters, we had the Murtabak stuffed with chicken. This is an Indian style pancake with stuffing. The Murtabak is actually found commonly in Saudi Arabia, but Malaysians call it Indian pancakes as it is commonly (if not entirely) found in Indian Mamak stalls or shops only!

The variety without stuffing is called Roti Canai, which is also available in this restaurant.

The Murtabak we had was served with Dal and I absolutely loved it! The chicken stuffing was well marinated and had lots of Indian spices and curry flavours!

Nasi Lemak

For mains, we had the Nasi Lemak, which literally translates into fatty rice!

It is a Malay dish whereby coconut rice is served with belacan with squids (spicy shrimp paste sauce), fried ikan bilis (dried anchovies), peanuts, cucumber, chicken curry and of course the hard boiled egg.

All the flavours were nicely balanced with lots of different textures from the crunchy fried ikan bilis and peanuts to the soft and spicy squid in belacan. The coconut rice was of course very fragrant, served with spicy chicken curry. The cucumber and hard boiled egg nicely diffused the spiciness of all the other ingredients. Delicious!

Laksa Lemak

We also had the Laksa Lemak  for mains and it looked absolutely beautiful (and spicy!).

Served with lots of fresh king prawns and squids, this is a dish for the brave as it is very spicy (but in a nice way).

It has a nice chilli spiciness to it but it is not THAT spicy that it tingles your tongue until you lose all sense of taste.

It's the wonderful combination of spices, herbs, chillies that make South East Asian food so wonderfully flavourful and delicious!

Dessert Platter

Because we could not decided and what dessert to order, the very kind owner of the restaurant treated us to this dessert platter!

On the platter was banana fritters, Fried rolls stuffed with shredded coconut meat, Chinese Jian Deui (my favourite) and ice-cream.

A Malaysian dessert platter giving a perfect end to a wonderful and authentic Malaysian dinner!

This meal depicts the multi-cultural and multi-racial Malaysia with Chinese, Indian and Malay food all under one roof!

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