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   POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6,1998              Back to Article Beginning

Saigon Café suits   

Taste for Asian cuisine (continued)

squeezed lemonade and soy bean milk. Non-alcoholic drinks like "Fuzzy Navel," "Sex on the Beach" (wouldn't that lead to "Sandy Navel"?) and Guava, Mango and Guyana Daquiris probably would be enjoyable dinner fare.
The chef s talents were evident from our first bite of steamed imperial rolls and spring rolls.
The former filled with shrimp, vermicelli and mint, are served with a creamy, peanut dipping sauce (3 for $2.50). Spring rolls are crispy fried egg roll wrappers filled with chicken, vermicelli and vegetables, accompanied by a light vinegar-based fish sauce (3 for $2.50).
Both were excellent and I appreciated the contrast between the way the steamed rolls were balanced with their richer dipping sauce and the fried rolls were lightened by their dipping sauce.
Three skewers of lime chicken breast in a lime marinade ($3.75) were augmented by additional skewers in celebration of the Chinese/Vietnamese New Year.
The citrus undertones and tender chicken chunks make this one of the most popular dishes, which can be enjoyed as a main course over a bed of vermicelli for $5.95.
I like to experiment (some say I play with my food), so I couldn't resist trying all of the sauces on the table - the thick plum sauce, the dark cod-fish sauce, soy sauce and Sriracha hot chili sauce. You'll be amazed at the different aspects of a dish each sauce brings out.
A tasty creation
For the entrees, we chose two

Saigon Cafe favorites: Happy Pancake ($5.95) and Shrimp Saute with Scallions ($9.95).

There is a tasty combination of rice, flour and curry used to create the crispy pancake that surrounds a combination of scallops surimi, shrimp, chicken and lightly sauteed vegetables, and the large pancake is big enough for two.

The soy sauce glaze on a dozen Medium-sized shrimp atop rice was delicate and delicious.

I heartily recommend trying the Cafe Sua Da - extra-strong dripped coffee with sweetened condensed milk over ice.

If you're one of those people who turns lethargic after lunch, a glass of this has enough caffeine to turn you into a whirling dervish.

It's worth sampling the home-made desserts, especially the creamy caramel flan ($2.50) and the Amaretto Chocolate Roll ($2.75). The chocolate-based jelly roll repeats the almond flavor in the filling and the fresh whipped cream icing.

The kitchen had run out of Gateau Mocha, layers of apricot, rum and mocha cream, which is the restaurant's most popular dessert.

I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised at the way Saigon Cafe treats this colorful cuisine. Lunch for two was $37.45.

The Poughkeepsie Journal pays for the meals that are the subjects of restaurant reviews, and reviewers do not identify themselves prior to the end of the meal. Brenda Buchbinder Sachs is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and a member of the Sommelier Society, a wine association.

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