Traditional Cantonese cuisine in Vietnam
We won’t keep you guessing — Ju Bao Xuan means “good things inside a silk pouch” and this upscale traditional Cantonese restaurant is indeed one of the culinary jewels inside Ho Tram Resort Casino Vietnam. Located off the lobby of the hotel, Ju Bao Xuan (or JBX, as guests often call it) specializes in authentic fare. Expect dishes that involve lots of premium ingredients with complicated preparation, long cooking times and are a result of high-tech cooking techniques not available to the average Chinese grandmother. The restaurant is open daily for dinner and on Saturday and Sunday for a dim sum lunch.
The 110-seat restaurant features both indoor and outdoor dining, which isn’t outdoors at all but located in the busy indoor arcade area of the resort complex — ideal for people who want to see and be seen. While the cuisine is traditional Cantonese, the décor is ultra-contemporary with almost abstract architectural elements juxtaposed with a few faux Old World period pieces. A red, white and black theme washes over the restaurant, from the long, black lacquered bar with lacquered red high-back chairs, to the sunken main dining room where red half-moon banquettes share space with four private dining rooms all under a sculptural ceiling of long white ribbons recalling the undulating waves of the sea. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the resort’s lake and the residential tower.
Executive chef Ng Kok Leong hails from Malaysia and has spent the last quarter of a century in some of Asia’s finest hotel kitchens in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Mongolia and China. His wide regional experience allows him to tinker with the boundaries of strong and mild, modern and traditional. The menu honors timeless classics like the best-selling Peking duck, which is showered in hot oil before being sliced and wrapped in pancakes and served with a housemade hoisin sauce. Traditional braised beef brisket is brought to the table in a clay pot allowing the dish to stay hot while eating.
The Vietnam restaurant’s extensive menu selections feature dishes that showcase excellent ingredients such as the braised abalone with fish maw and prized Yunnan ham, a favorite with the high rollers. Live seafood is available to be cooked to order, including lobster, spotted crab, king prawns, soft-shell crab, tiger prawns and fish like goby, cod and garoupa. While you can choose a preferred cooking method, the chef recommends cooking fish by deep-frying it with salted egg yolk and pandan leaf, wok-frying it with oats and shredded egg, or deep-frying with shredded green apple and lime juice. Or you can go Hong Kong-style and allow the ingredients to shine through, by simply having fish steamed with a touch of light soya sauce.
Other dishes showcase cooking technique. For instance, the deep-fried diced eggplant in spicy salt uses a dusting of flour to coat the eggplant, which is then deep-fried to be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, a twist on the usual tofu dish. The beef short ribs are also popular — the ribs are braised two-to-three hours for tenderness before they are deep-fried and served with a wine sauce made from Chinese wine, rose wine and rice wine. And while the menu focuses on the traditional, every now and then, you can find something unexpected. The fried rice is green, thanks to cooking the rice in spinach juice, which adds a surprising component to an otherwise simple dish.