Our Top 3 Tables In Ho Chi Minh City
TRADITIONAL: Cuc Gach
Fried Spring Rolls
Lotus Stem Salad?
It is an old residence converted into a restaurant, its architect-owner creating a space that is Indochine charm personified. Pocket gardens and tall windows, old Vietnamese dinnerware that oftentimes are chipped, wait staff that remind you of yayas, all contribute to the feeling of home. Its claim to fame aside from its food is that it is a favorite of Angelina Jolie. The soft- shell crabs are excellent and are ordered per piece. Squash Flowers, Fried Spring Rolls, Lotus Stem Salad are standouts in its vegetable-centric menu. If you can’t find what you want, they will cook it for you if they have the ingredients, so please, go ahead and ask.
10 Dang Tat, Tan Dinh Ward
Tel. +84 (8) 3848 0144
TRADITIONAL: Quan An Ngon
138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 1
Popular and always packed with both tourists and locals alike. It is a converted old home with a street food vendor setup on the terrace. Look, smell, point and order. Dining areas are in rooms all around a labyrinth of hallways, stairways and delicious food. It is the best place to get an overview of what Southern Vietnam has to offer.
Tel. +84 (8) 829 9244
Open daily 6:30 AM – 11 PM
HOLE IN THE WALL: Quan Thúy 94 Restaurant
Cooking glass noodles at Quan Thuy 94
Live Soft-Shell Crabs at Quan Thuy 94
Mien Xua Cua at Quan Thuy 94
Originally located at 94 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, it is now at 84 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, a few doors away from its original location. Another soft-shell crab restaurant is now at 94 Dinh Tien Hoang Street and uses the same name so it is very confusing. Just remember that facing the restaurants from the street, the original one is on the right. Live soft-shell crabs are in metal trays on the sidewalk right by the entrance. Burners, woks and pots up front, small tables and plastic chairs on the ground floor. A gleaming stainless steel staircase that is wider and easier to maneuver has replaced the steep narrow wooden staircase. A degree of prosperity has come to my favorite one true hole in the wall but the 2nd floor air-conditioned dining area remains the same, wobbly floors and all. Your first bite into crisp succulent deep-fried soft-shell crabs is an epiphany. The soft-shell crabs with tamarind sauce leave the crabs a bit mushy but the tangy sweetness of the tamarind offers a good counterpoint to the richness of the crab. The Cha Gio Cua or crab spring rolls are divine, the Mien Xua Cua or glass noodles sautéed with an extremely generous portion of crab meat, mushrooms, chilies and deep coral crab roe is not to be missed. The crabmeat in the crab fried rice is so abundant you would think that there is a sale on fresh crabs.
84 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, District 1
Tel. +84 (8) 910 1062
Photos by Maricris B. Encarnacion
Cover image from Quán An Ngon