KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – With its second outlet in just three months cropping up in Hartamas, Super Saigon is fast gaining traction in the arena of Vietnamese cuisine. Brought to you by the La Juiceria group, this expansion is a sign of things to come.
Settling in the comfortable niche of Melbourne-style pho (Vietnamese beef noodles), Annabelle Co-Martinent (founder of La Juiceria) explains that unlike what they experienced with La Juiceria, this was a much easier concept to sell to Malaysians. Beef noodles are self-explanatory to most Asians, after all.
So, what sets Super Saigon apart from the rest?
Co-Martinent tells us, “People are concerned about health, but they want it to be delicious. So [my partners who lived and worked in Melbourne] said why don’t we make it something familiar, Vietnamese food, which is still in a way very healthy – lots of herbs, lots of veggies – and you have the broth which really is made from scratch.”
Just how does the food fare, then?
Drinks and Sides
Let’s talk coffee. Our staple at any Vietnamese joint is the Iced Vietnamese Milk Coffee (RM7.90, USD1.92), and we were pleasantly surprised by just how good it is at Super Saigon. Our main gripe has always been that the coffee is excessively sweetened, and here we find a toned down level of sweetness with all the kick of an excellent glass of Vietnamese coffee.
We highly recommend the spring rolls as well, both fried and fresh. The Crispy Spring Roll Wrapped with Minced Chicken and Prawn (RM13.90, USD3.38) and the Fresh Rice Paper Roll Wrapped with Chicken and Prawn (RM9.90, USD2.40) were both excellent.
Even on their own without dipping sauces, they were full of crunch and fresh flavour. However, we can’t in good conscience neglect the flavourful sauce that comes with the rice rolls.
Co-Martinent enlightens us on the proper way to enjoy Vietnamese spring rolls, “You’re supposed to wrap it with the mint leaves and the lettuce leaves, and then dip it into the sauce. I’ve had friends and also customers who leave all these leaves aside. They think that it’s garnish.”
“It’s a constant education about how to eat it properly.”
The main event at any Vietnamese restaurant has to be pho. With so many options dotted around KL, we were surprised that this very quickly became our favourite bowl in town.
You can choose from a variety of beef pho options, but we went for the Medium Rare Sliced Beef and Beef Balls (RM18.90, USD4.59).
The use of quality Australian beef truly does make a difference because the slices cooked to perfection in the steaming broth. There is no comfort food quite like a good bowl of pho.
The excellent meat aside, the broth is incredibly rich and flavourful.
Super Saigon caters to those that don’t eat beef, as well as vegetarians. You can even order a combination of soup bases should you want the vegetarian additions with a more flavourful base.
Co-Martinent’s preference runs down this route, “I like to order the vegetarian pho with the beef broth or the chicken broth. Most of the time when I order any of the meat dishes, I don’t eat the meat. I enjoy the soup, I enjoy the noodles, and I would prefer a bit of tofu and a bit of greens.”
We were also pleasantly surprised by just how good the Mixed Chicken Cold Cuts Banh Mi (RM12.90, USD3.13) is as well. While it looks unassuming, it’s packed with flavour; and the addition of fresh bird’s eye chilli (chili padi) just takes it over the top.
If you’re in the mood for rice, you can’t go wrong with their Fragrant Grilled Lamb Chop and Crispy Spring Roll Bun Cha (RM18.90, USD4.59). The lamb is incredibly flavourful without being tough or over-spiced.
Melbourne-Style Pho + Additions
Here’s where it gets really interesting: Adding a Soft-Boiled Kampung Egg (RM3, USD0.73) to your pho.
This is a first for us, and there’s no going back. The addition thickens the broth slightly, and gives it a silky texture. If you’ve never tried this, your life is about to change.
The only thing that could make this better is the addition of Sate Sauce. This is precisely what turns Vietnamese pho into Melbourne-style pho.
“It has a little bit of spice, a little bit of garlic-y taste. Can’t describe it, but it gives that extra kick to your soup,” Co-Martinent is spot on. It’s impossible to describe how good this is added into the broth, and we genuinely feel this needs to become a staple.
Dessert here is a departure from the norm. Save room for Co-Martinent’s own recipe for Flan with Creme Caramel (RM5.90). A product of her Filipino roots, this has to be the best Leche Flan we’ve had in KL primarily because we can taste the creaminess without being overwhelmed by sugar.
It truly is a must-have!
- One of the best bowls of pho in KL
- The addictive Sate Sauce
- A Halal-friendly option for Vietnamese food
- Excellent Vegetarian options
- A far more balanced level of sugar in the coffee and dessert
- Parking. Take an Uber/Grab instead
2, Jalan Sri Hartamas 8
Sri Hartamas, 50480, KL
Tel: 03-6211 2888
We were guests at Super Saigon for this review, but that in no way influences the opinions expressed here.