“Chả giò!”, cried Saigon Sisters’ owner, Vincent Lim, to his wife, co-owner & chef, Carmen Lim. The deep-fried Vietnamese spring roll was part of our order list at the two-and-a-half month-old food kiosk near Mount Erskine market this afternoon.
Vincent is a youngish Penangite who found himself true love during one of his business trips to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) a few years back – his eventual wife-to-be was Carmen Giang Cam Minh Thuy, an attractive lass from Đà Lạt, the City of Eternal Spring, ensconced within the pine forest-clad Central Highlands of Vietnam.
Today, the friendly couple runs Saigon Sisters which offered some of the most authentic, and tasty, Vietnamese street food in Penang.
Vincent served us tall, frosty glasses of iced Vietnamese milk coffee - Cà Phê Sữa Đá, regarded by locals in Vietnam affectionately as their ultimate thirst quencher. If one comes here, do NOT miss ordering this.
A home-made baguette was harvested from the oven. Carmen sliced open the warm, crusty roll, and slotted into the hungry crevasse slices of home-made ham (yes, the Lims make 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮 item here themselves), crackling-skinned roasted pork belly slices, pickled jicama & carrots, fresh shreds of lettuce, sprigs of fragrant cilantro, and a drizzle of sweet-sour vinaigrette. This was the Banh Mi with roast pork. It had a certain ornamental French quality about it, yet deliciously Oriental.
The Bún Thịt Nướng is another must-order: fresh rice noodles – a closer cousin of fresh laksa noodles than Chinese beehoon – garlanded with ham, roast pork, spring rolls and fresh herbs & vegetables. The accompanying nước chấm dressing – sweet-sour-salty – was liquid gold, speckled with chili flakes. Its sharp tang lifted the dish to another level.
The crackling skinned roast pork belly here was perfect. I would return just for this.
We finished our meal with cups of Cà Phê Sữa Nóng - Vietnamese drip coffee.
Saigon Sisters operate 4pm to 10pm Tue to Sun. Closed on Mondays. It’s located at Kompleks Makanan E Garden, Persiaran Halia 3, 10470 George Town, Penang.