Bến Tàu Vietnamese Cuisine @ Union Street, Georgetown, Penang.
There are only a handful of Vietnamese restaurants in Penang and Ben Tau is one of the latest ones to burst on the scene. Opened in early September, this is one of the newer Vietnamese eateries in Penang, with a Vietnamese Chef. Albeit they have a seemingly extensive menu, but many dishes were not available on my visit (probably they were still new and have yet to stabilize their business operations). The interior decor is minimalist, with a few basic wooden tables and chairs; fortunately, the restaurant is fully air-conditioned which offers a more comfortable and pleasant ambiance. That, of course, inevitably leads to higher price tags (probably due to location as well). Ben Tau is tucked within the shop houses of Logan Heritage at Union Street, right beside to D' Dapor Express and Maybank; opposite to Standard Chartered Bank Penang.
The Beef Pho (Rm 12.90) was not listed on the menu and I am glad that I asked. A familiar dish was served to our table- with bits of Beef slices, julienned Onions and a generous amount of chopped Spring Onions. A basket of fresh Thai Basils, Lime and raw Bean Sprouts was offered as well; together with Hoisin and Sriracha Sauce. The broth was clear and light in color; it carries a mellow sweetness and exhibits a little beef notes within. However, I did not quite enjoy the noodles for being clumpy and not smooth enough. Furthermore, I thought the Beef slices were slightly overcooked, giving a rough and hard texture. Decent Beef Pho, but my vote for the best Pho still goes to this place.
Muc Chien Nuoc Man/ Stir Fried Squid with Onions (Rm 15.90) comes in a set consists of a can of Soft Drink and 2 Vietnamese Spring Rolls. The Squid was nicely cooked, slightly resilient but still fairly easy to the bite; while the generously added Onions and Garlic enhanced the flavors and added a bit of crunch. It possessed the essential "Wok Hei". However, I thought the ratio of the Squid was somehow incorrectly measured to the amount of White Rice; an additional Fried Egg would be great or best still, more Squids.
Goi Cuon/ Vietnamese Pork and Shrimp Spring Rolls (Rm 12.90) served with Hoisin Sauce was okay but I thought the Prawn was thin and it affects the overall texture. Eat them up fast lest they revert back to a stale and rough Rice Paper. Ben Tau's Spring Rolls were pretty standard and nothing out of the ordinary but we thought the price is rather steep.
Vietnamese Black Coffee (Rm 5.50)
Taste: 6.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 6.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 6/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Parking: 5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Ambiance: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 5, Lebuh Union, 10200, Georgetown, Penang.
Business Hours: 12 pm to 3 pm, 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm on weekdays; 12 pm to 10:30 pm on Saturdays. Closed on every Sunday.
Contact Number: 604- 261 3098