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Where To Enjoy Dinner In The Food Lover’s Paradise That Is Ho Chi Minh City

Once during my two years living in Vietnam, I was eating Vietnamese BBQ with my coworkers and someone looked over at me and said, “Do you like the ostrich?” I was taken aback to learn that, in fact, I wasn’t eating beef but that I was chowing down on BBQ ostrich—and I liked it. Maybe your palate isn’t as adventurous (nor does it need to be), but you will need to divide your time and schedule your nights with precision in Saigon not to miss out on some of the best grub that Asia has to offer. And don’t count calories unless you plan on carrying regret and FOMO with you on the return flight home. 

 

Quan Bui

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This popular spot for upscale Vietnamese dining gives you a break from the tasty street food and sweltering heat and allows you to celebrate your Saigon adventure in air-conditioning. Featuring everything from special Northern Vietnamese dishes to the iconic Ho Chi Minh-style Fried Spring Rolls, Quan Bui is certainly worth the motorbike journey. 
 

Quan Ut Ut 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Once featured by CNN USA as one of the best restaurants in Saigon, Quan Ut Ut is a casual American BBQ eatery that will make you a believer with every bite. From plates of grilled bacon to slabs of juicy, grilled ribs and flavorful sausages, Quan Ut Ut is a meat lover’s paradise. Featuring all-star side dishes like Mac & Cheese, Corn on the Cob, Okra, Coleslaw, and French Fries, you’ll want to bring a big group and order as much as possible for sharing. I promise you’ll leave there forever a changed person. 

 


El Gaucho 

 

Good news, my fellow foodies, this Argentinian steakhouse is opening soon in Makati near Century City Mall. When I saw the board up on the window, I almost fainted from excitement because El Gaucho in Ho Chi Minh serves some of the finest cuts of steaks and has some of the most incredible, tender BBQ ribs I have ever had. My Irish friend who doesn’t eat ribs changed her mind after a dinner date at El Gaucho because the ribs are packed with flavor and so tender that they melt in your mouth—no exaggeration. The thick-cut Steak Fries require an extra side of the housemade BBQ sauce and you must try the Beef Empanada and Provoleta for appetizers. Every diner finishes their meal with a free shot of caramel vodka. Salud! 


 

Hao Tuc 

If you’re the type of traveler who is scared to get food poisoning and your stomach doesn’t allow you to be a risk taker, Hao Tuc is the perfect restaurant for you to sample a myriad of Vietnamese dishes ranging from appetizers like Spring Rolls and Crab Salad to BBQ meats marinated in a symphony of Vietnamese flavors. Hao Tuc is a fine dining establishment with beautiful wine, and I’ve taken many cooking classes upstairs at the Saigon Cooking Class by Hao Tuc. If you enjoy your meal, I definitely recommend enrolling in a short half-day course and learning how to whip up authentic Vietnamese food yourself. Enjoy eating al fresco if the winds are in your favor, and as a side note, the ambiance is great for date nights! 


 

Ciao Bella  

Buon appetito! And enjoy your meal you certainly will if you make time to dine at this quaint family-owned Italian restaurant in the heart of Ho Chi Minh. Start with a complimentary glass of Prosecco, enjoy a Carbonara that may bring you to tears, and be sure to try the Chicken Parmesan (I always ask them to make my pasta arrabiata to spice things up). If all that carbo-loading makes you busog and there’s no space for dessert, you’ll need a doggie bag for the Tiramisu. Ciao bella for now, but I’ll be seeing you again.

 


Pizza 4 P’s 

 

 

When I learned this place has housemade burrata cheese, I was sold on the spot. Serving Japanese fusion pizza, this isn’t your ordinary pizza joint. Try the Four Cheese Pizza with honey, and if you’re adventurous, sprinkle a little extra dried seaweed on your Carbonara. Not sold yet? Well that’s ok, because Pizza 4 P’s is packed nearly every night and requires a reservation. So if you won’t take a seat, someone else likely already has taken it for you. 

 

Lead images from: Pizza 4 P’s,  Quan Ut Ut , and El Gaucho