Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cheap Seafood at Hai Lua, Ben Thanh

Dinner for two on the first night

Besides the pho and spring rolls, we also discovered a cheap seafood place which only operates at night. When Ben Thanh market closes down in the evening, the whole market scene is shifted to the roadsides where you can find yourself in a pasar malam. There is also a street dedicated to food where stalls are set up with the whole kitchen transported from the lorry equipped with tables, chairs, utensils, table cloth and uniformed waiters!

Clockwise from Top Left:
Hotpot Seafood in Thailand's Taste (135.000 vnd- RM27), Clams Fried with Garlic (38.000 vnd- RM7.60), Harvested from the Hotpot, Red Snapper Grilled with Salt & Spicy (98.000 vnd- RM19.60), Spring Rolls for Display, Clams Roasted with Tamarind (42.000 vnd- RM8.40)

The menu was flourished with too many choices that we simply couldn't make up our mind. With only 2 stomachs, we tried to manage within our cravings and means ($$ and stomach space). On the first night, we ordered the hotpot seafood (aka steamboat), clams in two styles- garlic and tamarind and a big grilled fish! While I wouldn't say they were excellent, given the price it was well worth it.

Clockwise from Top Left:
Frog Fried with Butter (69.000 vnd- RM13.80), Frog Grilled with Five Tastes, Stir Fried (69.000 vnd- RM13.80), Grilled Mullet (98.000 vnd- RM19.60)

On the last night, we decided to give Hai Lua a revisit since there are so many other dishes we have not tried. This time, we had the frog done in 2 styles- fried with butter and grilled. Frogs, though they're quite yucky and sends chills down my spine when alive, tastes good when cooked! I love 'tin kai chuk' (frog porridge) as the meat is so smooth and tender. We had another fish, this time a grilled mullet. We did not enjoy this fish much as it has a lot of bones :(

Prawn Steamed with Coconut Water (85.000 vnd 1/2 kg- RM17, 165.000 vnd 1kg- RM33)

After seeing this dish on few others' tables, we jumped on the bandwagon as well. This one is really unique as the prawns are dipped in coconut water whilst the dried ice beneath it helps to 'fire up' the coconut. The waiter even provided peeling service so that we don't have to dirty our hands.

Clockwise from Top Left:
Edible Snail Steamed with Citronella (98.000 vnd- RM19.60), Papaya Shake and Sweet Pamelo Juice (15.000 vnd and 24.000 vnd- RM3 and RM4.80), Clam Boiled and Steamed (40.000 vnd- RM8), Loadsa people at Hai Lua

To max our experience at Hai Lua, we ordered 2 types of shellfish that night- escargots and clams, both of which were so-so only. Hai Lua is a popular dine out place at night amongst the locals and tourists alike, thanks to it's marketing strategy of putting a bbq pit outside to attract passersby of the grilled seafood smell.

All these food for less than RM100 per pax for 2 nights.

Hai Lua Restaurant
Crossroads of Luu Van Lang and Phan Boi Chau St
Next to Ben Thanh Market


stephnay said...

WOW! i am currently in Vietnam too! Definitely trying the food here!

YilingL said...

Wah sucha coincidence! Yes do give it a try... whereabouts in Viet? Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi?

Calvin Goh Seow Chung said...

Seafood! I want my fresh seafood!

Anonymous said...

still on same vietnam subject?? something new la

YilingL said...


Sorry to disappoint.

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