I really love to try traditional-homey restaurant when I’m visiting a place. After going around Ho Chi Minh and try out some of their traditional food and eating place, up til now, I think there’s nothing can beat this restaurant, which not only serving traditional food, but also being designed just like a traditional home. It really makes you feel like a house instead of restaurant once you got into the restaurant.
The address of this place is 10 Dang Tat, Tan Dinh, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh. It will be easier for you to find by taking a cab or grab car (an online taxi application) to get to this place, as they don’t really put the name of the restaurant in a really big sign. So, you might get confused trying to walk around and find this place.
The restaurant starts at 09:00 AM daily and closes at 11:00PM without any break time in the middle, like some of the restaurant in Vietnam do. So you’re welcome to come by anytime without having to wonder whether you’ll get to try the food or not because of the lunch break time, since the restaurant is operating the whole day. And, they even got some Lunar New Year event going on during Lunar New Year.
The restaurant is founded by Mr. Tran Binh (an architecture) and Ms. Tu-Thao Thai in 2009. The house was originally Mr. Tran Binh’s grandmother’s, which is a french colonial building which gives you a nostalgia and homey vibe at the same time. You’ll get to see the kitchen which just look like any other kitchen can be found in any asia style house. And, this place got really popular when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie visited this restaurant in 2011.
Basically what they served in the restaurant are a traditional home style dishes of Vietnam. The owner did a really good job by transforming this old house into a restaurant, without losing the house’s nostalgic and homey feeling. You’ll be able to see the sofas, dining table, the old looking chair, and the stairs that seems like being made out of a really old wood. LOLZ! Because the first floor was full, I got to sit in the second floor of the restaurant. You can see the mini door going to the attic. With my not too tall height, I even have to bent down to get through the door.
Since I still get a little bit of cold left in my system, lol, I ordered a glass of ginger tea so that it could help me to soothe my cold. And I didn’t expect it came with an acacia honey, which is nice, since this glass of ginger tea only cost you around VND 35,000. The drink was so thoughtfully prepared, so it’s even higher my expectation of the food, I ordered a pork grill rice noodle roll, and actually was expecting a spring roll (yesh! I love Vietnam’s spring roll) but instead getting a 4 pieces of spring roll like being explained in the menu, I got a rice noodle (vermicelli) with 4 pieces of pork grill meat. LOLZ
Aside from the pork grill, the noodle also comes out with a vegetable and slight spicy sour sauce (which I didn’t take the picture of). The staff will tell you how to mix everything together and eat it. The staffs here who wear brown uniform are basically the server of the food, and cannot speak English at all. The staffs who wear white uniform help you to take order, attend to your almost every need and can speak English pretty well. Not perfect, but just nice to be able to explain the food and give recommendation on what to eat and what is popular in the restaurant. Back to the rice noodle, although it’s not the spring roll I’ve been expecting, it tastes really good. The pork was smooth and juicy, with a slight burnt aroma in it, which is the type of grill meat I really like the most.
Up next is the beef barbecue. Since the pork grill inside the rice noodle was so nice and tender. I’m expecting the same for this one. But, unfortunately this one fails really bad. I shouldn’t have ordered this menu on the first place. The taste of the barbecue sauce is quite okay I must say. But the beef is not tender, not juicy, and even really hard to chew and cut. It was like you’re eating some beef meat toy.
And, when I was looking on information about this restaurant, the pictures that keep being popped out of the internet is this fried tofu picture, so I’ve been meaning to try it even before I see the restaurant’s menu. And, the home made tofu didn’t disappoint me like the beef barbecue did. The tofu was silky, and slightly crispy on the outside. The sprinkles is not too salty with a little bit hint of spiciness, but trust me it is not that spicy that you can’t eat it. The spiciness was just there to add the richness taste of this dish, which they did.
The last menu come out is the sour soup, which is a menu recommended by the staff. You can choose either to cook the sour soup with fish or with shrimp. Since I’m not a fan of a fish, I choose to put shrimp in it. With so many giant chunk of green vegetables and tomatoes, I was actually hesitate to try it. Is it really good just like the staff told me? But since I’ve learnt my lesson not judge the book by it’s cover from the O Cha Rot, I decided to give it a little try. I would almost regretted it if I didn’t drink the soup. It taste like tom yum goong but not as sour and with a little bit of spiciness inside. The soup actually tastes wonderful! I personally think, that this one is the best dish out of the other dishes I ordered. Should have just let the staff to help me choose the other menu as well. LOLZ!
After eating a few dishes out of their many dishes in this restaurant, I would say that it tastes good, but not really remarkable. But this place definitely worth a visit if you want to try some home cooking in Ho Chi Minh. Though the taste is not remarkable, but it taste good and it really gives you that homey feeling when you eat your meal. It’s just like having meal in your own house, and since I travel a lot. Having this kind of home cooking is really something for me. Definitely will come back for another round when I’m around!