Food? On the streets? Where?!?


Here's a recent article on the abundance of grub on the streets of Saigon by the New York Times. Yeah, no shit. Give it a read, though. While I feel like there's many better options for more authentic 'local' food the recommended 'Cơm niêu', I do agree that the international dining options puts out disappointing performances way too often. Let me expand on that thought...


9th floor overhead shot of a Hủ tiếu cart setting up shop in a hẻm (alleyway). Note the impatient chick in the yellow shirt looking over for her bowl of noodles. Yeah, I see you.


Example: I ordered a 'Mediterranean Bruschetta' appetizer the other night at Skewers restaurant in District One. What came out was a small mound of diced beets, tomatoes and zucchini with cilantro (really?) and a splash of extra-V and balsamic over a warmed slice of wheat bread. Hardly memorable and ridiculously inexpensive to make considering the cost of veggies in Vietnam. I'd estimate the appetizer's cost to the restaurant [raw material] at 12.000 VND (60 cents) yet they decided on setting the price at 95,000 VND. A ridiculous mark-up for a unspectacular dish. So goes the story of the Ho Chi Minh 'International' food circuit. High on profit. Low on originality.


Value per (thousand) dong = inexplicable at times!


Foie Gras at Reflections restaurant. Meal for two: ~1.300.000 VND (~$68)


Other Asian cuisines are well represented but when you venture outside of the continent it gets a bit rough. I really like Black Cat for burgers and Xu or Reflections for a little flash although usually I leave 'International' restaurant counting the amount of local meals I could have ate for the same price. 'So that meal was about 52 plates of pork and rice and I'm not even satisfied. FML.' Goes without saying I'm a bit weary when it comes to trying out new places in D1 these days.


Nighttime Hủ tiếu cart. 5.000 per bowl (27 ¢).


A few places I've tried around D1 (out of $$$ and ****)

Square One $$$ *** 1/2
Xu $$$ *** 1/2
Kabin $$ *** 1/2
Qing $$ ***
The Black Cat $$ ***
Pacharan $$$ ***
Golden Elephant $$ ***
Seoul House $$ ***
Ohan $$ ***
Reflections $$$ ***
Mumtaz $$ ***
Zan-Zi-Bar $$$ ***
Tandoor $$ ***
K-Cafe Sushi $$ ***
Scoozi $$ ** 1/2
Texas BBQ $$ ** 1/2
Kuru-Kuru $$ **
Byblos $$ **
Halal@Saigon $ **
La Habana $$ **
Hostaria $$ **
Skewers $$$ **
Gringos $ **
Sushi Bar $$ **
Ganesh $$ **
Cepage $$ **
Dae Jang Geum $$ **
Ashoka $$ **

Au Parc $$ *1/2
Mexico Lindo $ *

Any other Sài Gòn residents have anything to say about the international dining scene? Am I missing something?



Stay Bona Fide.

3 comments:

FlavorBoulevard said...

How was the Texas BBQ? At least D1 has so many international restaurants now, maybe it just needs more time...

Rock Portrait Photography said...

Zan Z Bar offers deliciously prepared food at no more than you'd expect to pay for that quality with good service. The fine wine is also welcomed.

However, a plate of bo chien for 12000 is often all I need.

A. Rizzi said...

@Flav - TBBQ was pretty good, not amazing but I've actually only had the pulled pork and chicken wings so far. Actually it's even tough to find great BBQ in California so I guess I gotta be more lenient with this category.

@Rock - Yea I've been there for drinks but haven't eaten yet. Always looks crowded. You're talking about 'banh bot chien' right? I'm with you there- sometimes (mostly?) it's all you need.

~LinkWithin

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