by ADELA EILEEN
Mekong is the benchmark to Ananatara’s dining varieties, located within Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara. The food is their passion and it takes you on a culinary journey influenced by the Mekong Valley region in Vietnam, Thailand and China.
With their ultra-polished interiors, it surely is one of the best restaurants to try when visiting the south.
The menu takes you on a ride to savour distinctive-tasty flavours, and luckily they have a set course menu, which allows you to indulge in the chef’s favourite creations.
We had to bring out the busy chef from the kitchen to talk about the food. Chef Nguyen Ngoc Tuan from Vietnam is quite zealous about his food. He suggested we try a number of speciality dishes served at Mekong.
The chef’s favourites include individual servings of mixed entrees: Thai papaya salad, goi cuon, Thai crispy roll, beef satay & lemongrass prawns. One main dish and a dessert, but we decided to go big, and did try both, the ala carte menu and the set course menu
The first dish was the goong pan ta krai, entré of minced prawn and herbs served right on a lemongrass stick. Visually, it was a masterpiece, and tasted amazing, too. Goi cuon was another highlight dish, a Vietnamese spring roll made with vermicelli, prawns, coriander, and vegetables, served on a rice paper.
After savouring the prawns, we dived into beefy starters. Kicking it off with pho (finely pronounced as fu’h), an authentic Vietnamese delicacy made of beef broth, noodles, sliced Angus ribeye and favoured with hints of garlic, chilli, basil lime. It was sublime.
The mains we ordered were quite flavoursome and were enough for two to three people. We started with gaeng keiw wann, a Thai signature green curry, served with wild black rice and sticky white rice. Followed by bo luc lac, also known as Vietnamese shaking beef. This very tender Angus beef was mixed with a bunch of herbs and vegetables that truly elevated the dining experience — A perfect choice for dinner.
No dining glory is complete without a good dessert, especially if you are a teetotaller. So we had the Mekong dessert platter that was recommended by the chef, which came with lemongrass creme brulee, Bounty bar, mango sticky rice, fried red bean cake, fruits and mango soup. I have to say, the assortment was quite interesting but all paired well with each other. The bounty bar and red bean cake were exceptionally delicious.
Words cannot describe the experience we had at Mekong. The place did not just offer me excellent food but also served great ambience and most important the warm hospitality which really made it to an excellent experience. I definitely recommend a visit to Mekong when in Salalah.