Thuyen—Royal Vietnamese Cuisine At Its Finest
Glass walls expose the new stylish yet homely dark interiors of Thuyen, charming us even before we sit down at this Vietnamese restaurant. Established in 1996, the place finds itself in a private residence inside Soi Pridi Banomyong 37. Renovated in 2013, seventeen years later, by the award-winning POAR (Patchara + Ornnicha Architects), Thuyen was officially reborn for its now fine dining reputation.
Offering a selection of over 80 dishes, the cook, who is also the restaurant's founder's mother, has had a long relationship with the Vietnamese Embassy in Thailand, honing the craft of royal Vietnamese cuisine while working in its kitchen. As a result, Thuyen is said to be the best place to relish authentic Vietnamese cuisine in town if not the whole kingdom. Thailand Tatler sat down to prove the claim.
Entering into the restaurant, the minimal decor is pervaded by yellow paper boats, a nod to the actual definition of Thuyen—"boat"—as well as a reflection of the owner's fondness for sailing and Vietnam’s coastal culture all at once. We were seated beside a window overlooking the property's well-groomed lawn. To cool off, we opted for the iced artichoke tea to start with, though Vietnamese coffee is also very much recommended.
Flipping through the food menu is a trip in itself. As it is impossible to try all of Thuyen's eighty-something dishes in one sitting, the helpful staff recommended us some must-tries, including the Banh cuon. Served as the first appetiser of our meal, the steamed Vietnamese ravioli filled with minced pork and spring onions is an excitement to the palette. The soft rice sheet is thin and the filling is simply delicious, especially when had with a side of pork cake and fresh vegetables.
The Banh cuon was followed by So diep nuong mo hanh, grilled scallops topped with garlic and spring onions, served with peanut sauce—another impressive number with the sizable bivalves. We also liked the popular Nem nuong, charcoal-grilled pork balls wrapped in lettuce and steamed rice sheets, a Vietnamese variation of the Thai naem nueng. For another savoury Vietnamese meaty dish, order the Thit cuu nuong voi sa, or roasted lamb rack with lemongrass served with sliced potatoes infused with aromatic herbs.
Our most favourite item of the night, however, was the Cha ca la vong, or Vietnamese turmeric fish with dill and noodles. A rare dish to taste in Thailand, the turmeric fish is a Northern Vietnamese delicacy, seasoned with savoury shrimp paste, lime juice, fresh chilli, dill and other fresh herbs. Despite the number of ingredients, the flavours satisfy the taste buds without being too heavy or overwhelming.
7 Soi Pridi Banomyong 37
Open daily 11am-11:45pm
See also: Elementi Is A Culinary Destination In Rayong