Savoy Vietnamese restaurant

Australia is home to a sizeable Vietnamese community, and consequently certain areas have become meccas for reasonably priced and accessible Vietnamese food.  Despite the considerable Vietnamese presence in Taiwan (both through immigration and foreign workers), I am always surprised not to find more Vietnamese restaurants.  There are some (and the number is growing), but they generally only serve bland curry or have been so altered to suit local tastes that the keen freshness and vibrancy of Vietnamese cuisine is hard to identify.  And with some notable exceptions, many of them are grubby, whole-in-the wall shops that dish up half-decent food, but aren’t really that appealing (or in locations easily accessible to expats).

Vietnamese beef noodle soup (pho)

So I was happy to be introduced to my friend Mike’s favourite restaurant, a small Vietnamese eatery tucked between Carnegies and The Diner near the Far Eastern Hotel along Dunhua South Road Section 2.  The name of the restaurant is Yue Yuan (越苑), but it also adopts the English name ‘Savoy’ on its business card.  My friend refers to it simply as that ‘pho’ (Vietnamese beef soup) place with the yellow sign. 

That Vietnamese pho place with the yellow sign -- Savoy restaurant

Mike dines there often (he joked he has only been there once this week) so we relied on his recommendations for choices.  Without needing to look at the menu, he ordered the emerald green curry chicken with bread (NT$160).  While I didn’t order this, it looked and smelt amazing.  I wished I had what he was having; next time.  And his wife was keen to share as soon as it arrived, which is usually a good indication of something being pretty good. 

Emerald green curry chicken rice

Mr Taiwanxifu took Mike’s advice and ordered the rare steak beef noodle soup (pho NT$150, pronounced like fur in Vietnamese).  The pho arrived in a large bowl of thick rice vermicelli noodles, topped with thinly sliced raw beef, shaved onion slices, shallots and plenty of tasty broth served with a plate of fresh herbal and salad accompaniments.  Mr Taiwanxifu (who is somewhat of a pho connoisseur) declared the soup was ‘not too bad’ — which must mean it was pretty good. 

Vietnamese beef noodle soup

Mr Taiwanxifu was much more impressed with the additional BBQ pork chop he ordered as a snack(NT$90).  I also managed to sneak a sample and was impressed with how tender and tasty it was.  Mike’s wife ordered the rather generous grilled pork chop set with egg roll, steamed egg and rice (NT$150) as a main meal, which she and her husband shared (without any complaints, or for that matter leftovers, once again a sign it was pretty good). 

BBQ pork chop, egg roll, steam egg rice plate (baguette in the background)

Being pregnant I was reluctant to try the pho on account of the rare meat, and likewise avoided Savoy’s fresh spring rolls (usually a must have when we dine Vietnamese).  I instead opted for a ‘safe’ option of seafood combination noodle soup (NT$180).  The soup was nicely balanced, and clearly not laced with MSG as some restaurant versions can be.  But I thought there could perhaps have been slightly more non-noodle items in the soup (namely seafood).  And there was a fried wonton/prawn thing that was difficult to eat as the prawn had not been shelled beforehand; and the fried pastry went soggy once it had been in the soup. 

Seafood combination noodle soup

It is hard to resist sweet iced Vietnamese coffee (NT$80), especially when it is freshly brewed in authentic Vietnamese aluminium drip filters as it is at Savoy.  But beware it is only for coffee diehards; it may taste deceptively sweet, but there is a lot of caffeine in each serve.  Knowing that I would be up half the night if I indulged, I instead bucked the trend at our table and ordered a tall class of iced honey lemon (NT$70).  This was basically a refreshing home-made lemonade, which was a delicious accompaniment to my soup and would be heavenly in hot weather.  And it looked so inviting, that it provoked some beverage envy at the table.

Iced honey lemon (iced Vietnam coffee brewing in the background)

Savoy is cheap, clean and cheerful.  It will not break your wallet, although compared with more ‘local’ Vietnamese restaurants in Taipei it is a little on the expensive side.  This is largely due to their upmarket locations and squeaky clean, expatriate friendly interior and set up.  We dined at their Anhe shop at No 8, Lane 103, Dunhua South Road Section 2 (台北市敦化南路二段103巷8號, phone 2701 2523), but they also have restaurants on Dunhua North Road (12, Ln 155, Dunhua N Rd, Taipei City 台北市敦化北路155巷12號, phone 2718-0660) and Zhongxiao East Road Section 4 (No 10, Ally 32, Lane 216, 忠孝東路4段216巷32弄10號 phone 2731 9597).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
This entry was posted in Eating and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments Closed

5 Responses to Savoy Vietnamese restaurant

  1. channamasala says:

    Dunno, I like the grubby, hole-in-the-wall places, and if they’re inaccessible to expats, then the expats are more to blame than the restaurants. Something about the atmosphere in spots like that appeals to me. I’m also down with nicer places, as long as the food is good, but I’ve consistently found in Taiwan that with a few exceptions, generally the less aesthetically appealing restaurants have the best food.

    But I’m always on the lookout for good Vietnamese – at the moment a current favorite is a grubby stall in Tonghua Night Market and another one that I never get to because it’s too far away in Xindian – and this place is about a 5 minute walk from my apartment, so I’ll be checking it out!

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Where is your favourite place in the Tonghua Night Market? It sounds interesting.

      There is a collection of Vietnamese restaurants opposite Bellavita, across the road and down a side street where ‘Crown Fancy’ bakery is. One in particular is quite good, although a bit hard to find. Definitely more the grubby hole in the wall variety with no airconditioner or English menu but very good. I’ll post details next time I go there. I had a lovely bowl of beef in tomato noodle soup there.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      And I don’t mind slightly grungy places, so long as the food is still fresh and hygenic. (I walked out of one restaurant after I saw a big vat of raw chicken marinating without refrigeration). But with a toddler, I do find that it gets more difficult to have family meals at more traditional, local style places. Or maybe we are just fussy, over protective parents!

  2. todd says:

    Just found your blog, and thanks for the good tips. I live not far from Bellavita and would be exceedingly happy if you could tell me where that good Vietnamese place by Crown Bakery is. I still have yet to find good pho here, though I haven’t tried this place by the Savoy, either. There’s a place on Yong Kang Jie that numerous people have talked about, but I thought it was very so-so. However, it was better than everything else I’ve tried so far.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Hi Todd,

      I can’t remember the name so I think I need to visit soon to post about it! But there are several along that street, past the Bread Societe bakery. The one I like is a bit further up and harder to find (and too hard to describe). I have also heard there is a good Vietnamese restaurant at Mitsukoshi A4, although I am yet to try it. Given the location it is likely to be more upper market.

      If you don’t mind trekking across town, it is also worth trying Ming Jih in Xizhi. It was highly recommended by a good friend and his girlfriend, who are regulars. I really enjoyed our meal there, and I hear they have good ice-cream in summer. http://taiwanxifu.com/2011/04/20/hidden-vietnamese-restaurant/

Comments are closed.