Monthly Archives: May 2012

Nyam Abroad: Pizza 4P

The entrance for Pizza 4P

The entrance for Pizza 4P

When I go to Vietnam, I tend to eat a lot of Vietnamese food. So much that sometimes, my wife has to call a stop to it and force me to eat something that doesn’t involve a noodle, grain of rice or fish sauce. When this happens, I usually complain, pout, and kick about. Basically, I turn into a 3 year old.

It was one of these times again last week where she put her foot down and told me to find a non-Vietnamese place for us to try out. So I opened the excellent Word magazine and unenthusiastically started down the list of international restaurants until I saw a listing that piqued my interest.

Italian tradition meets Japanese ingenuity

Nuff said.

Pizza 4P interior

Pizza 4P interior

It took a while to find the place, mainly due to the fact that it is down an alley. Best advice is to look for the Domino’s and then walk past it, then make a left when the road ends. We arrived on a very busy Saturday night and were told it was going to be a 30 minute wait for a table but were free to sit at the bar. I suggest anyone eating here to sit at the bar to watch the awesomeness happen.

Chef Yoshikawa in his element

Chef Yoshikawa in his element

All the pizza’s are made by the man in the red rimmed glasses. And he is very good at what he does.

The menu is quite extensive with appetizers, soups, salads, one-dish meals and of course pizza. With over 14 different pizzas, it was hard to choose. Luckily, Pizza 4P’s offers combination pizzas by offering half orders on each pie. This time, we ordered a full margherita and a half salmon sashimi/quattro flowers pies.

Pizza dough ready to go

Pizza dough ready to go

From the first minute of watching from the bar, I was completely enthralled by the quick work by Chef Yoshikawa and his crew making the pies. The speed at which pizzas were getting placed in the wood-fired oven was astounding after seeing some of the complex affairs that were being assembled. I asked the chef’s assistants to let me know when he was going to start our pizzas so I could document the process. So after a half hour of beers, conversation with our fellow bar mates and a fantastic caprese cocktail appetizer, the assistant indicated that ours was next.

No shredded mozzarella here

No shredded mozzarella here

Once the dough gets rolled out, the toppings get piled on. I love a place that doesn’t shred their mozzarella and seeing Chef Yoshikawa grabbing whole chunks of cheesy goodness made me extremely happy.

A margherita gets a dash of salt before going in the oven

A margherita gets a dash of salt

Once all the ingredients are on the pie, it gets moved to a waiting pizza peel for baking. .

Pizza waiting to be placed in the oven

Pizza waiting to be placed in the oven

Once Thuy, the pizza baker gets a hold of the pizza, it is placed inside the oven for about a minute, then it is slowly rotated and constantly checked for the prerequisite char marks to appear. When Thuy decides the pizza is done, it is placed on an awaiting dish to be garnished. It only took 2:27 from the time Thuy put the margharita pizza in the oven to the time the plate was placed in front of us.

A finished margherita pizza

A margherita pizza

A simple tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil finished off with some extra-virgin olive oil is all that is on this margherita pizza. My wife commented that the tomato sauce was the best she had ever had on a pizza. Sometimes simple is all you need.

Half Quattro Flowers and Salmon Sashimi Pizza

Half Quattro Flowers and Salmon Sashimi Pizza

The other pie that came out was the complete opposite of simple but the crew still managed to get it out to us at 3:47. The Quattro Flowers pizza had pumpkin, leek, telosma cordata, sesbania, grandiflora and daylily flowers accompanied on a sweet mozzarella cheese mayo and parmesan cheese. The medley of flora in the Quattro Flowers brought a fresh, crisp texture to the pizza and would have made it a light meal if it wasn’t for the other side of my plate.

Fully dressed and ready to eat

Fully dressed and ready to eat

The other half was the Salmon Sashimi which had house-made ricotta, capers, onions and parmesan cheese cooked onto the pizza. It was finished off with some raw salmon and fresh dill on the side. The Salmon Sashimi side of the pizza was a playful Japanese spin on traditional italian ingredients by adding the raw salmon and dill.

The last slice

The last slice

As we were leaving, I had a chance to chat with the owner, Yosuke Masuko about his restaurant. Chef Yoshikawa and him have been friends for over 20 years and actually built a wood fired a few years ago in his garden. When I asked about the quality and care they took in each pie that came out, the former venture capitalist cum restauranteur simply replied, “I really like pizza”.

Nuff said

Pizza 4P’s
8/15 Le Thanh Ton Street District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel: 0120-789-4444
Website: http://www.pizza4ps.com

We came back 2 more times and tried the Okonomiyaki, Chicken Teriyaki, Quattro Fromaggio, Proscuitto and the Salmon Miso pizzas. All were great and we will definitely come back when we are back in Ho Chi Minh City!

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Ichiriki Tei

Ichiriki Tei

Ichiriki Tei

Located on Kampuchea Krom just west of Central Market, Ichiriki Tei is a great Japanese restaurant that not only serves your generic sushi and nigiri rolls but some seriously filling homestyle cooking.

Interior of Ichiriki Tei

Interior of Ichiriki Tei

We were greeted immediately by the staff and were offered a huge table that could have easily fit 10. The interior is a blend of tacky Khmer Riche and understated Japanese.

The view of the other tables at Ichiriki Tei

Understated yet tacky

The menu is quite extensive and was a bit daunting to look through. Luckily, the proprieter was very patient with us newbies and guided us through the menu. Between the 3 of us, we ordered 4 dishes.

Gyoza at Ichiriki Tei

Gyoza at Ichiriki Tei

The first dish that arrived was the gyoza. At $2.00 for 5 pieces, it was a little expensive, though not as expensive as the gyoza at Bekkan Ramen. I felt they were a bit bland and definitely needed to be dipped in the accompanied soy sauce. After the demolishing the gyoza, the rest of the plates started to appear.

Ichiriki Tei Special Ramen

Ichiriki Tei Special Ramen

Ichirikitei Special Ramen ($6.50) was one of the lunch specials of the day. Along with the noodle soup, you get a pretty generic plate of fried rice. . I would suggest sharing your meal if you want to actually do anything after your meal. Half a boiled egg, sliced pork and cabbage accompanied the thin round noodles that came in the sesame oil-infused broth.

Katsu Don with miso soup

Katsu Don with miso soup

The next dish they plopped down was the Katsu Don ($8.50). When I say plopped, I mean a thud. The bowl was huge! The deep-fried pork cutlet was smothered with a beaten egg before serving and tempered the crunchy breaded pork that is usually served with this dish. The rice  was flavored with a bit of soy sauce and was a nice counter-punch to the rich pork. A definite gut buster!

Niku Soba

Niku Soba

The Niku Soba ($7.00) was the last bowl to come out. Nice and chewy soba noodles were served with sliced beef, carrots, onion. I found it to be a bit bland and once some heat was added to it via some chili flakes, it made for a pretty good broth.

All in all, a great place for those who are looking for homestyle Japanese food and don’t mind not doing anything afterwards.

3 out of 5 nyamies
Vinh

homemade chili sauce and soy sauce

Once we were able to find the front door at Ichiriki Tei and found our table, the overly attentive staff started piling hot towels, menus and sauces on our table. The woman that spoke the most English explained to us that the chunky chili sauce they brought over was homemade so we had to give it a try. We mixed some in with the soy sauce and it was decent, not too spicy and a bit sweet but the mix went well with the gyoza.

Food at Ichiriki Tei

My eyes bugged out when the Katsu Don arrived at the table. Probably really unhealthy but the katsu don consists of delicious tenkatsu and fried eggs piled on a top of really nice Japanese rice. This was by far my favorite dish (I’ve actually been back twice since and ordered this).

Special Ramen, Fried Rice and neon red ginger

The ramen was really cheap so I wasn’t expecting much but it wasn’t bad for the price. The noodles were not fresh but the broth and pork were really nice. The Niku Soba and fried rice were fine but not stand outs.

pickles

Americans typically associate Japanese food with healthy options like fresh sushi. This Japanese food is not healthy. Ichiriki Tei does have a very expensive sushi section but bulk of the menu is “Japanese soul food” which is definitely the reason to visit this place.

4 out of 5 nyamies
Bryse

Ichiriki Tei
No.10 Kampuchea Krom Blvd, Sangkat Phsa Thmey 2, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh

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