Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh
Set out below are some of the restaurants in Ho Chi Minh we visited in District 1:
XU Saigon is an amazing restaurant in Ho Chi Minh with a lively cocktail lounge downstairs. The restaurant is plush and stylish but without feeling pretentious and focuses on developing a menu that includes traditional and modern Vietnamese cuisine.
We opted for the five course tasting menu which featured a wide array of dishes and matching wine (food only: £33 with matching wine: £63). Each person had there own course (not a sharing style) which we preferred.
Course one was Crab Meat Soup and Vietnamese Duck Salad with cabbage, pickles, shallot, peanut with ginger fish sauce. This was paired with a Santa Digna Reserve – Gewurztraminer, Central Valley – Chile wine. We loved the flavours in the duck salad with the extra texture from the peanuts. The duck was so tender!
Course two was Baby Mussels on rice cracker and Banh hoi heo quay (rice noodles with roasted pork, pickles, herbs and light fish sauce). The baby mussels were delicious and so small that you didn’t pick up their usual more slimy texture. The rice cracker was a great accompaniment for a bit of extra crunch. This was paired with a Taku – Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand wine.
Course three featured our favourite dish – the Grilled prawn with salted eggs, young tofu, sauteed asparagus and the Grilled coba fish marinated in salt and chilli. That prawn was something else – so juicy, fresh and flavoursome and paired with Elderton Chardonnay, Eden Valley – Australia wine. After this course were given a light and zingy sorbet as a palate refresher.
Course four was an amazing Chicken Roulade with salt, pepper & lime puree, cauliflowers, rau ram & onion salad and Braised Lamb with Vietnamese cauliflower curry puree, bok choy, pickled ramps. This course was paired with Concha Y Toro ‘Casillero Del Diablo’, cabernet Savignon, Central Valley, Chile wine.
Last, but certainly not least, was course five, the XU Dessert Tasting which were bite sized delights! We devoured the yoghurt honey, passion fruit mousse, strawberry shortcake, Vietnamese flan cake paired with a
Concha Y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Maule Valley, Chile dessert wine.
If you are looking for a special restaurant in Ho Chi Minh, XU Saigon is thoroughly recommended.
The not so secret garden (as it is signposted) is situated near the People’s Committee Building. To be fair it was only from reading the reviews that I knew it was in an apartment building otherwise I may have been a little confused! Climb four flights of concrete stairs with motivational quotes on the way to keep going and you arrive in a little haven.
The restaurant is adorned with trees, lanterns and coloured napkins folded from the ceilings! It had a relaxed and informal feel and was pretty busy when we visited. We tucked into:
- Braised Chicken with Ginger (£2.5)
- Pumpkin stems and beef with garlic and onion (£3)
- Fried prawn with pork and sesame (£3)
The latter two dishes were our favourite – the beef was delicious and I seem to have a small obsession with pumpkin. The prawn was literally wrapped in pork and sesame making for a chunky, delicious treat. With beer and soft drinks just over £1, it was a very affordable and decent meal.
This was a recommendation from the Original Taste of Hoi An food tours as a must visit restaurant in Ho Chi Minh. The restaurant is designed like a French colonial house and you can dine in or outside.
The concept at Cuc Gach is to recreate Vietnamese cuisine as cooked locally. That means that people can choose to eat vegetables the way they want, with the meat they want.As a result, the menu is focused on an array of vegetables which you can have sautéed, braised steamed, stewed, boiled and more!
The menu is expansive (which they acknowledge) so they suggest asking for help and that’s exactly what we did! We had:
- Pork caramelized in a clay pot (£4)
- Beef sautéed with lemongrass and chilli (£4)
- Rice fried with vegetables and garlic (£3)
- Sauteed pumpkin flower with beef (£4)
Tiger beer was £2 and cocktails £4 (I had a sweet amaretto based one).
The food was excellent, particularly the sauteed beef and the pumpkin flower.
If you like street food, you must head to Ben Thanh Night Market for food. The entrance is clearly labelled in neon lighting and is open from 6pm. It was actually smaller than I had imagined but still had plenty to choose from. There is seating at the front just off the street where a live band sometimes plays too. At the back, the seating is over two floors.
Vendor wise, there are around 25 to choose from selling mainly local or South East Asian food but we also spotted a couple of Western stalls. We were attracted to the smell of a BBQ and had some delicious barbecued pork and rice (£3) as well as some pork dumplings (£2). Bar wise, head to the one at the front which has plenty of choice and special deals on certain drinks.
Around the corner from the night market (near where the day market is) there is another street food area called Hai Lua which served local food.
Ngo89 was situated near our hotel and offers affordable local food in a simple but homely space inside or, of course, on the red plastic chairs outside where you can people watch. Beer and soft drinks were less than £1 and the majority of the food menu was priced between £1-4. We enjoyed the Pork with baby rice fry and the wrap and roll beef!
Bars in Ho Chi Minh
There are also so many bars in Ho Chin Minh, particularly laid-back smaller venues with cheap beer, plastic chairs and beanbags. If you are looking for something a bit more special, there are a number of rooftop bars in Hoi Chi Minh focusing on their cocktail offering. What’s even better is most have happy hours which usually run between 5-7/8pm. A few options are:
Rex Hotel Bar
This bar is where the soldiers congregated during the Vietnam War. One of the smaller rooftops, it is situated on the fifth floor of this 5 star hotel and offers 50% of cocktails between 5-7pm. Most are priced between £8-10 so 50% off makes them more affordable and there are 18 to choose from! We particularly liked the Berry Daiquiri and the Saigon Sunset (Gin, Grand Marnier, Apricot Brandy, Dry Martini, Orange and Lemon Juice).
Social Club Rooftop
Situated on the top of the luxury Hôtel des Arts Saigon is Social Club Rooftop. They offer happy hour daily from 5-8pm with 50% off all drinks by the glass from their selection of signature cocktails, beer, premium wines and spirits. They also have DK performances from 8.30pm-1am weekdays and until 2am on the weekend.
Skyloft by Glow
This bar and nightclub is situated on top of the President Place and is open until 2am every night. What a place to party on a rooftop! With tables and sofas around the edge of the venue, there is plenty of space to sip on cocktails at the bar and dance. Happy hour is from 6pm – 8pm where you can get a Mojito, White Lady or Aperol Spritz for just £3.50 or other signature cocktails for £5.5. Glasses of wine and Heineken are only £3.5 and there are a number of bar snacks available for under £6.
East London Girl: Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh