Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Le Toit Gourmand @ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

HCMC Part II: A top-notch rustic French meal is near-impossible to find in KL, but Saigon's foodies are fortunate that Le Toit Gourmand (The House of Gluttons) serves exactly that.

Amuse bouche of scrambled eggs with black truffles. Rich and decadent.

Goose liver "spring roll." The foie gras terrine was pure perfection, encased in light, crisp pastry that provided a terrific textural contrast to the liver's creaminess.

Black pudding (pork blood sausage) with apple. A meaty treat, with a pleasant gaminess.

Calf sweetbreads with parsley. These fried thymus glands and pancreas are an acquired taste _ chewy, with a flavor similar to other offal. But since they're seldom available in KL, we have to order them whenever possible.

Shredded duck wrapped in cabbage with foie gras sauce. Tasted better than it looked _ succulent slices of duck confit, surrounded by a moat of savory foam. The cabbage simply provided the illusion that this might be a healthy recipe.

Beef cheeks with foie gras. Such a simple combo, it's a travesty that this recipe isn't more common. A mouthful of the melt-in-the-mouth meat with the sumptuous liver equals unparalleled culinary bliss. Worth flying here simply for this.

Timbale of rabbit with tarragon. The closest I can get to calling myself a cannibal for now, since I was born in the Year of the Rabbit. OK, never mind.

Burgundy snails with garlic & parsley butter. A cliched dish if prepared lackadaisically, but this was a reminder that in the right hands, with the right accompaniments, snails are some of the most marvelous molluscs around.

Fish cooked "pot au feu"-style with clams, leek & duck sausages. Perhaps the least memorable platter, but still a success by any measure. Comfort food for seafood fans.

Complimentary selection of cheese. Way too much for two people though...

... especially since we were offered no less than five varieties, including heavy ones doused in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with truffle slices.

Complimentary Armagnac. A deliciously heady French brandy.

What's a French meal without red wine? This place is difficult to find, since it's in a secluded neighborhood away from the city center, but it's more than worth the effort.

Le Toit Gourmand,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


  1. Wow, this is comparable to the fine dining places in kl!

  2. u really order regardless of place and price..some of the items looks huge in portions, not very fine dining like but more of a homey feeling..nice find in vietnam!

  3. Wow! The food looks like it's to die for! Will definitely try to make my way there should I be in HCMC.

  4. Now that's a healthy mix of both rustic and fine-dining in a nice Viet-Franco package... I guess HCMC will be my next Vietnamese destination after Hanoi. :)

  5. You must be really pleased with your trip to HCMC from the sounds of it!

  6. Oh maaaaan this is torture. Food looks so so good but have to get on a plane first worr.
    (rabbit again! Lol)

  7. omg. you cracked a joke.
    Craving for snails now. Hope you'll get to try the real stuff when you are in Paris. (as in real French snails...oo la la)

  8. Decadent dining at its best! Ooh lala! Cheese must have filled entire year's dairy quota... for a family of four!

  9. michelle: yep, hcmc does have a few great restaurants, but not as many as KL ... there are barely any italian outlets there! :D
    joe: yeah, i like traditional french country cooking (am thinking of the movie 'ratatouille' now). it's excellent for hearty appetites =)
    unka: 'to die for' is totally right: the food here is so unhealthy, due to all the meat, fatty cheese and butter ... but so delicious :D
    lfb: i guess it's a remnant of the french colonial heritage in hcmc? if the french had ruled malaya for centuries, maybe we'd have more french restaurants in kl too (yay!). i wouldn't mind checking out hanoi someday (recalling your doggie photos) :P
    qwazymonkey: oh yeah, it was good food all the way! though, ahem, that was thanks to my efficient planning, done in advance
    j: yeah, there are still a couple of french semi-traditional restaurants in kl, but none of them have this kind of variety and authenticity. heheh, ok, no more rabbit meat ... for maybe two weeks! :D
    lemongrass: but nobody laughed! heheh. well, these snails were definitely imported from europe, but yeah, not necessarily france. do i prefer snails or oysters? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
    min: ooh yeah, if 2010 ended now, this would be on my list of 10 most satisfying meals of the year! luckily i'm not lactose-intolerant =)

  10. Somehow I think I prefer speaking English to French, so yay for the former British imperialists! :D

  11. lfb: le français est une belle langue. si mélodique, si poétique. Si vous ne pouvez pas l'amour, alors vous méritez d'avoir vos lobes d'oreilles trancha :D

  12. i wished we had something like this in KL. a laid back french dining place with nice wines all stocked up like that.

  13. eiling: yeah, it's the kind of place that i wish le bouchon (at changkat bkt bintang) could be. there used to be a la terrasse on jln berangan that was kinda OK, but it closed sometime last year...

  14. Damn..hw did HCMC hv better fine dining restaurant than us in KL??
    And why is it in the outskirts/hard to find? Shouldnt it be right smack in town?

  15. tng: oh, HCMC has a few great places, but KL has much more of a variety (fortunately for us!). this restaurant is a family-owned place, very discreet and non-commercial :D

  16. don't you want to try rabbit meat menu?

    If yes please PM me..