A center of business and technology in Vietnam, Saigon is the ultimate fast-paced metropolis in the country. The city offers a massive option for fine dining, street food, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine. If you are on the lookout for unique yet equally delectable meals, try Saigon’s creepy naming dishes – seriously, some of the dish’ names will give you shivers but every bite will leave your taste buds wanting for more.
But if you’re out and about for an authentic culinary experience here are top 3 restaurants in Saigon that can surely satisfy your hankering.
If you fancy a medieval style cozy restaurant make sure to check Cuc Gach Quan located away from the hustling city vibe of Saigon. This restaurant follows the classic style of cooking from its cutleries down to its kitchenwares. The owner’s motto goes by “eat green and clean.” This restaurant uses ceramic bowls with lacquer coating. Even the chopstick containers were initially sugar and salt jars that have been reused.
Several bowls and dishes have chipped marks which add ancient features to their tableware. The menu consists of typically ingredients such as freshwater fish, tofu, fermented bean curd, pork and several vegetables like the water morning glory, pumpkin flower, winged beans, tonkin jasmine flower.
The seasonings used for their dishes are mainly organic and use little MSG to suit anyone who is sensitive.
Some of the must-try in this restaurant are their fried brown rice with seafood, papaya salad with beef jerky, eggplant by Ms. Bay (pack with crunch, well-pickled and definitely not bitter), chicken salad with ambarella, pumpkin flowers or winged beans are crisp. Dish price ranges from 120K VND – 1.7M VND depending on specialty meals.
Customers of this restaurant would highly recommend their drinks with banana leaf caps and straws are made from the water morning glory.
Sitting at the heart of the busy city of Ho Chi Minh, Di Mai (Di means Aunt) restaurant gives you a quaint rustic feel where vintage-nostalgia breaks the line that separates it from modernity. Located in the Ben Thanh Tower Apartment building, Aunt Mai restaurant is known as a great space for diners to enjoy Vietnamese dishes in a nostalgic “Indochine” style. Its notably refurbished Xe Lam (locally known as Tuk Tuks) cashier counters are attached to communal dining tables, the restaurant’s overall aesthetics is a captivating feast to the eyes.
Inspired by the profound concept of Vietnamese people, Aunt Mai restaurant perceives their cuisine is always associated with rustic and lavish rural cuisine. The restaurant welcomes you with its interesting architectural design.
The restaurant architecture is a combination of rural Vietnam and Indo-Chine culture, a significant remnant of the old Saigon – strikingly vibrant signature.
The advantage of Aunt Mai restaurant is that, from its rich culinary history and their paragon of Vietnamese dishes, their chefs have developed other perfect variations with familiar ingredients, creating several ‘layers’ of flavors that keep customers coming back.
One thing that most of Aunt Mai’s diners are very pleased with is that delectable meal selections are served based on the time of the day, divided into brunch, light lunch, dinner menus for friends and families.
Their popular dishes are stir-fried beef and glass noodles with coconut turmeric sauce, rolled Pho with grilled chicken and lemon leaves, Aunt Mai’s simmered shrimp, duck spring rolls with cat’s ear mushroom, duck rice noodles with dried bamboo shoots. Each meal costs between 100K – 600K VND.
Quan Bui currently boasts 3 branches with the following addresses: 17A Ngo Van Nam (District 1), Bui Garden (55A – 55B Ngo Quang Huy, Thao Dien, District 2), and Bui Bistro (Floor 1, 39 Ly Tu Trong, District 1). The shop is inspired by old French Indochina style, so you can easily find hanging photos of the old Saigon, with fire baked ceramic items, rustic dining tables or variations from classic Seiko sewing machines.
This old style Saigon restaurant is the first choice of quite a lot of diners on the lookout for authentic Vietnamese cuisines, popularized by the rich flavor with Vietnamese identity, diversified menu, a culinary infusion of the North – Central – South.
The space showcases a little bit of the old, rustic and elegance perfectly blended together, and harmonized to the tune of the iconic Ngo Thuy Mien, Trinh Cong Son.
The space of the restaurant is large, the menu is rich with dishes from three regions, so it is very suitable for family gatherings, or with a group of friends – especially if you want to introduce Vietnamese cuisine to foreign friends. The dishes in Bui are generally slightly flavored, using a subtle amount of oil so they are not too harsh and oligenous.
The food here looks outwardly compact, but in fact it is quite a lot, especially on the portion of rice – your belly’s intake capacity will surely be tested here.
Some popular dishes that are highly recommended when coming to this Vietnamese restaurant are: salted egg tofu with crispy fried tofu wrapped in tasty salty egg coating. If you want to be frugal, you can order boiled vegetables to eat with braised pork in condensed fish sauce, dracontomelon soup with pork ribs. If you are a fan of fried dishes, you should try the crab spring rolls – crispy outside with a lot of fillings, or the fish cake dish is also very catchy. The average meal costs 100K – 500K VND
Are you at the same time excited to check these chic style restaurants and drooling to have a taste of authentic Vietnam? If you’re a tourist and planning to explore Saigon, make sure to have a read of important travel updates in Vietnam.