If you ask a Thốt Nốt District local about their food specialties, most of them will tell you that you must try bò lụi (beef skewers) at Tư Hương Restaurant.
By Việt Dũng
If you ask a Thốt Nốt District local about their food specialities, most of them will tell you that you must try bò lụi (beef skewers) at Tư Hương Restaurant.
Located at National Highway 91, the restaurant in Cần Thơ City’s Thốt Nốt District (40 kilometres from the city centre), is popular with locals as well as tourists.
While the restaurant serves beef hot pots and beef wrapped in lá lốt leaves, among other items, it is bò lụi that keeps diners coming back again and again.
When I arrived at the crowded restaurant at around 5pm, I was pleasantly surprised by how quick the service was. Two minutes after sitting down and ordering bò lụi, the appetising dish was placed in front of me.
A full dish of bò lụi consists of around five beef skewers, rice vermicelli, greens, and a plate of sliced cucumbers and unripe banana, as well as a condiment of chili fish sauce.
Topped with onions, peanuts and a bit of lemongrass, the aromatic and juicy meat was something to behold. With every bite of the succulent beef, it was almost impossible to put the skewer down.
The meat was soft and rich with spices, and when dipped in the chili fish sauce, the slight hint of spiciness brought out the flavour even more.
The recipe is relatively simple: chunks of lean beef and beef belly are seasoned with lemongrass, garlic and onion, and then grilled.
However, a dish of bò lụi is not that easy to cook. The chefs have to select the right kind of meat with just the right amount of fat, and all pieces of meat have to be cut with consistent sizing.
Moreover, if chefs use a large fire, the surface of the meat will be done before the inside is cooked, but if the meat is cooked over a small fire, the charcoal odor will stick to the beef and ruin the appetising appearance of the bò lụi.
For my meal, the sour unripe banana and fresh cucumber and greens wonderfully complemented the meat, especially when the greens were used to wrap the meat.
Combined with the rice vermicelli, you get a filling and satisfying meal for only around VNĐ80,000 (US$3.5).
However, there were a few problems with the restaurant. While I personally found the dish to be great, the meat was a bit too fatty and may deter some guests who want to maintain a healthy diet.
Also, while I found the staff to be quick, the customer service still has some room for improvement. The staff were not especially friendly to guests and even a bit rude at times, often serving the food without so much as a smile.
Numerous reviews online also commented on how long it took to get served during peak hours, or how many people had trouble ordering after 6pm when the restaurant sometimes runs out of bò lụi.
Nonetheless, most reviewers all agreed on one thing: the bò lụi is simply amazing.
So, the next time you have the chance to visit Thốt Nốt District, consider Tư Hương Beef Restaurant for a great dish at a reasonable price, but I strongly suggest arriving early or making a reservation in advance. — VNS
Tư Hương Beef Restaurant
Address: National Highway 91, Thốt Nốt District, Cần Thơ City
Opening time: 10am – 7pm
Phone: 0292 3852 305
Comment: Very good beef for a reasonable price, but customer service needs a bit of improvement.
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