new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Jazmine Cafe: I Kinda Miss California Sometimes

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jazmine Cafe: I Kinda Miss California Sometimes

Jazmine Cafe is located in Riverbend, near the famous Camellia Grill (so sue me, haven't tried it.) It's got the usual Vietnamese menu suspects: think pho, vermicelli noodle bowls, spring rolls - and some slightly bizarre interlopers like kimchi and seaweed salad. (What?)

Salads are pretty tasty: standard issue cabbage n' veggie type salads with plenty of fish sauce and fried garlic. At about 8 bucks, they're a refreshing way to hork down lunch, although I wish they used more flavorful chicken instead of rather weak poached stuff. I will try the seared tuna variant in the future.

Went for a visit with a friend the other day and delved into the menu beyond salads.

Spring rolls were up first. These were your typical version: tasty if a bit heavy on the noodles. I had to ask for fish sauce but they did have it on hand, so that's nice.

Next: caramelized shrimp, a pretty classic Vietnamese dish. This version was pretty mediocre compared to the delicousness I can get back home, and what the hell was the pineapple doing in there? The shrimp at least were big and juicy.

We also tried the vermicelli noodle bowl with lemongrass pork, which was also only okay. The pork had a pretty strong lemongrass flavor but definitely was not caramelized with goodness like I expect it to be. A decent rendition but surely phoning it in for those of us who KNOW our Vietnamese cuisine.

The restaurant is quite nice inside and prices are reasonable, although the boba-tea offerings mean a blender is running way too loudly way too often in the main dining area. Still, Jazmine is a decent way for me to get my Vietnamese fix when it must be met (and that happens so often, dangerous fish sauce addict that I am.)

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