ORIVY: A GREAT INTRODUCTION TO HOI AN’S SIGNATURE DISHES $$
At Orivy the tranquil, shaded garden skirted by calming ponds keeps me coming back more than anything. It’s a lush oasis amidst the concrete and brick of nearby neighbors; a portal that transports one away from stark urbanity.
Orivy has a very consistent kitchen and many healthy options on its menu. It’s mid-priced and, while it doesn’t reach dizzy heights, the small extra cost for its standard Hoi An fare is totally justified. This dedicated Vietnamese restaurant proudly champions local cuisine and the use of very fresh ingredients from Tra Que (Hoi An’s famous market garden), local markets and fishing communities. Famous regional dishes like Cao Lau, Banh Xeo, My Quang and Com Ga lead the way (see Street Food Guide: Safari Barney) and they are a step up from the market stalls and street vendors.
My Com Ga was very good indeed. The rice was fragrant, steeped in chicken stock, light and separable. The shredded chicken was seasoned with a hint of chili jam, and the herbs, especially the glistening mint, were ‘picked-that-morning’ fresh.
The menu has a terrific range of broths, salads and rice. Many of these local salads feature mango or papaya, and there are a number of rice options, including some brown rice signature dishes – try the one with peanut and sesame.
Main meals of poultry, fish, seafood, pork and beef are offered sautéed or grilled with traditional flavors. My pork with chili and lemongrass had been toned down a little, clearly conscious that Orivy is a tourist destination first and foremost – this will suit some and not others. Also, the pork fillets, while not tough, were a fraction overcooked. Still this is nitpicking as this dish was superior to most offerings around town.
Orivy is definitely worth a visit for a very accessible introduction to local Hoi An cuisine. There are good options for vegans too with many traditional dishes like Cao Lau offered vegan-style as well as tofu and mushroom selections.