We visited a trending Vietnamese spot called Dot Saigon at the Westfield shopping center and wanted to know what all the hype was about. We heard about the Vietnamese culture’s mouthwatering chicken and pork dishes. Although we did have some hesitancy in sampling a country’s food that we knew little about, thankfully it didn’t hold us back.
Vietnamese food is known for its use of herbs, such as cilantro and mint, as well as coriander, which offers a citrus flavor. Dot Saigon’s reputation for delicate flavors, food truck inspired sandwiches, and healthy options hooked us early in this dining experience.
Their eye-catching menu featured tantalizing choices, such as pulled chicken stir-fry and shrimp spring rolls. We even noticed the all-too-familiar teriyaki chicken rice bowl, as well as the less familiar but tempting Bahn mi sandwich, which was served with prawn chips and caramel pork belly. This sandwich has its roots in French colonialism, which sounded equally as fascinating.
With so many flavorful options, we chose the middle ground and selected the lemongrass chicken with rice noodles.
When our order arrived, it looked like a freshly arranged, glorified salad with a crispy top and perfectly cooked tender chicken, plus a hint of citrus — which was the flavorful lemongrass. The pale pink-colored sauce on the side added a delightful color contrast to the green and orange vegetables. Generously pouring the pink sauce over the salad portion of the meal provided a big payoff since this sauce was rich in flavor. The gentle seasoning blended nicely with the crunchy julienned carrots and cucumbers. The crispiness of the finely chopped sauteed onions added a welcomed mellowness to dish.
Hiding under the bountiful vegetables were the delicately flavored rice noodles. It was like finding a $20 dollar bill in your pocket when you least expect it. The light-colored sauce was sweetened to perfection and yet had an underlying mild heat to it that allowed the dish to come together nicely, creating a harmony of balanced flavors.
Don’t let the somewhat busy mall location of Dot Saigon keep you from patronizing this hidden culinary jewel. Your taste buds will be unexpectedly inspired and you will find yourself returning for more.