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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lively Vietnamese Buffet @ Nada Lama, Equatorial Hotel Penang

I was fortunate enough to be invited to review Nada Lama's Lively Vietnamese Buffet today at Equatorial Hotel Penang. This buffet is available for a very limited time from 18-24 August 2015.

Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its lively, fresh flavors and also its very creatively crafted cuisines that not only look appetizing but is also very healthy. They feature many fresh ingredients in their cuisine and also make use of striking colors to make the food appetizing.

At the Lively Vietnamese Buffet, Nada Lama have invited Chef Tran Kim Hoang Trong and his team to showcase some of their best culinary creations which features from the authentic to the modern take of it. Over the course of the week, they will be rotating the menu to feature a wide variety of dishes, so visiting on a different day would bring something different to the menu.

The buffet is priced at RM148 Nett per adult and RM74 Nett per child. Dinner starts from 6.30pm-10.00pm for the duration of this promotion.

Do continue to check out my simple review of this buffet! Comments are always welcomed.

Located on the lower ground floor of Equatorial Hotel, what used to be the Coffee Garden is now called Nada Lama!
 Featuring a new look and modern design providing diners with a very comfortable and relaxing dining experience

 As you enter, they have a bakery section which has some selected cakes and pastries for sale. Do note that this is not part of the buffet
 Now for the buffet section. They have a noodle station which features their popular rice noodle with chicken broth. Even though the item looks simple but the broth was very flavorful. I was actually surprise by how well balance it tasted. The rice noodle though was a little bit tough to the bite thus probably it needed to be cook slightly longer.
You can choose to garnish the noodle with a variety of fresh herbs like mint and basil leaves. Add some romaine lettuce for crunch and a squeeze of lime for that added zest.
 Moving along, we have a salad bar with a variety of dressings. This is a more standard affair and nothing to shout about in my opinion.
 Right next to the salad bar is where the highlight shines. Here they have a few authentic Vietname appetizers and I do like the figurines dotting the landscape of the buffet.
 You have Radish Sprouts with Tuna Salad. I like the fact that they used chunky pieced of tuna here though the sprouts were a little green to my liking. But the balance of the salad was good.
 Green Papaya Salad with Prawns was probably one of my favorite for the night. The salad was crunchy, has a zesty refreshing taste and the large prawns gave it a sweetness to the bite. Love it
 Rice Paper Springroll with slice beef was a good selection according to my friends who tried it ( I don't take beef anymore). It did look really appetizing and the rolls were wrap perfectly. You can see the chunky pieces of beef through the translucent roll
 This is the Rice Cake with Dried Shrimp. I was a little bit disappointed with this one as I did not find any dried shrimp in it. I was hoping that its somewhere in the rice cake but seems not
 This is a beef salad and again I did not get to sample this one. One thing to note, if you are a beef and duck lover, you will love Vietname cuisine as these 2 meats are part and parcel of it
 Duck Salad with Cabbage. This is another good salad to try and it featured lots of chunky bits of pulled duck mixed into a camaderie of cabbage and leafy herbs. Again a refreshing salad indeed
 A closeup of the figurines
 The buffet also features a nice selection of fruits for dessert. Of note was they had a bunch of passion fruits which I feel goes really well mix to some salad. Hehe
At one of the live cooking stations, we have our Vietnamese Chef preparing some beef slices. You can opt for just beef slices or with noodles
 A choice of condiments to go with the beef slices
This is the finished item with rice noodles. Again, the comments on this was that it was surprisingly good seeing that it look pretty normal. It must have been the marinate used for the beef and just the right amount of cooking
 Now we head to some of the main course on offer today. One of my favorite for this evening was their Steamed Red Snapper with Black Beans. The use of black beans and loads of ginger and some secret ingredients made this fish dish really good to taste. Penang is so used to just having Teochew style steaming and this really reminded me of a good steam fish in Ipoh.
 Roast Duck was pretty good and the duck meat was tender. Maybe just me but I don't think there was a need for the condiments at the stop as it kind of soften the crispy skin of the duck
 Tamarind Prawns is very similar to our Assam Prawns though it is not as aromatic as the ones from Penang. It was drier to the taste but the prawns were exceptionally fresh to the taste
 Another winner for the night is the Fried Tofu with Stuff Fish Paste in Tomato Sauce. The silky smooth tofu with the tomato sauce went so well, that I had to have seconds. I would say kids and adults would love it.
 Deep Fried Eel was a let down for me as I felt the eel was overcooked making it very tough to the bite
 Fried Spicy Calamari was pretty addictive with the calamari cooked perfectly. This is a critical criteria as no one likes rubbery tasting calamari. It wasn't as spicy as I thought it would be though
 Braised Chicken with Ginger tasted good but not something exceptional. It was just OK as it isn't too difficult a dish to make and pretty simple actually.
 Vietnamese Styled Braise Beef looked really appetizing but I can't really comment on it again. As I mentioned, the beef selection here was pretty darn good
 And now we head to dessert. They have a wide selection off western styled sweet dessert and many in bite size pieces which is great for sampling
Closeup of some tarts
 And more cakes
 There was even a Ice Kacang stand with one of the largest choice of condiments I have seen in a long time
 But of course since this is a Vietnamese Buffet, we can't miss some Vietnamese desserts. And they did not disappoint
 Tonight they had 4 varieties on offer and each one was delicious. I totally enjoyed all of them and it was really thoughtful that they come in shot glasses so you can try each one of them without getting stuffed.
And finally below was my first of many plates for the night. Tried abit of everything except the beef dishes and it was a pretty satisfying dinner. I highly recommend this to beef lovers as then you will be getting your full money worth as there is a majority of good beef dishes on offer. Non beef eaters would see the selection reduce by about 1/3 probably thus thats why I say it is not that worth it then. But its good to note that for the price, you do get high quality ingredients and fresh produce! Do try it out as its really just a week more of this promotion made by real Vietnamese Chefs!


  1. When I was going for travel then I take apples, bananas, nuts and many more foods. I’d love for you to suggest healthy gluten-free convenience foods, like the snack bars. I like the Kind bars. Having to eat gluten-free has led to eating whole foods.
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