Although we love to eat, we don't know enough about places off the beaten path and rely in particular on our "local" friends for recommendations on Asian food places in the burbs. Our good friends Jon and Stella brought us to Saigon Star during the Summer, and we were in LOVE. Saigon Star serves Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, and is most famous for its curry crab. This crab is no joke - it is heart stopping rich and indulgent, and is like no other crab or curry you have had before! The crab comes hot and fresh, drenched in delicious curry yet still has the sweet, fresh taste of crab meat. After our first time there, we knew we'd be back to try other crab preparations. The next time we accidentally found our way to the restaurant was just Tony and I. We confidently ordered a crab, pineapple fried rice (you always need something to have with the curry sauce!), and water spinach with shrimp paste sauce (tung choi). Obviously, we were way too ambitious and finished nothing but the crab. The servers were so gracious, although we got to the restaurant around 10:30pm (closes at 11:00pm), they assured us we could take our time...but we felt really bad anyhow, the staff was getting ready for their dinner!
On Friday, we made another trip to Saigon Star with friends. I was excited to revisit with more people - we wanted to try the beer crab and needed people to share it with! We made reservations and did our best to get their early - the restaurant is always packed. So many things on the menu look delicious at Saigon Star, I've always wanted to try the hot pot seafood rice pilaf with coconut milk & curry...but after curry crab it just seems like too much. We went with the standard: curry crab, hot pot beer crab served with clear noodles, pineapple fried rice and roti (a must for mopping up the curry), grilled honey pork neck meat (another famous dish), Thai tom yum shrimp soup , our veggie favourite the shrimp paste water spinach. Yum! Our meal was spectacular as usual, starting first with the curry crab, which you can't possibly eat without making a mess! The beer crab was also fantastic and I'm glad we had a chance to order it - it's very different from the curry crab, not as intensely flavoured, but delicious in a different way. The hot pot broth was very tasty, filled with vegetables and chewy clear noodles...I couldn't get enough. I can barely decide which I prefer more; but ultimately, the curry is the real outstanding dish. If curry crab were a 10 beer crab would be a very close 9.5...and felt a bit less dangerous to my heart.
It was a perfect meal for a Friday night, we were all ready to just collapse from food coma. Saigon Star is a real gem and is starting to be a regular spot for us to take visitors. Best crab in the city, I think! Having a cold beer or some young coconut juice is the perfect accompaniment to the meal...it's like being on a tropical holiday, a brief escape via food and drinks :)