Posts Tagged ‘Saigon’

Must Try Restaurant in Hanoi


Along your journeys to conquer new lands in each region, the cuisine is an indispensable experience for most travelers. Travel Sense Asia would like to recommend must try restaurant in Hanoi, Saigon at the two biggest tourist cities of Vietnam.

1. Duong’s restaurant

The restaurant system is owned by Vietnam Top Chef Hoang Van Duong – Awarded Top 3 Vietnam Top Chef 2014. Here you can have experience of a mix of traditional Vietnamese dishes mixed with Vietnamese / French fusion dishes. Moreover, you can enjoy both street food or traditional food of Vietnam such as Vietnamese noodle (Pho), Vietnamese dish of grilled pork and noodle (Bun Cha), Fried Spring roll (Nem Ran)…

On the other hand, if you choose the Cooking class in Hanoi or Cooking class in Ho Chi Minh City, this restaurant is the best choice for you. When you participate in the cooking classes, the chef in the class will show with you many of his/her secrets when he takes you on a culinary journey. After that, they will teach you how the subtle blend of spices which are the key element to creating the outstanding flavors that are found in some of the favorite dishes of the Hanoian.


You can choose to attend a morning or afternoon cooking class every day, but you should book in advance in order to make sure the class is still available at that time. 7 menu options are available for the cooking classes each day, you can choose the best option for your team. The morning classes will culminate in lunch whilst afternoon classes culminate in dinner.

In Hanoi, you can find Duong’s restaurant at 2 addresses:

Add 1: 27 Ngo Huyen st.., Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Dist.., Hanoi, Vietnam
Add 2: 101 Ma May st.., Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Dist.., Hanoi, Vietnam

In Ho Chi Minh city, Duong’s restaurant is located in:

Add 1: 27 Dong Du, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

2. Madam Yen Restaurant

In Madam Yen Restaurant, All dishes were made from the passion in the cuisine of the chef. One of the highlights of this restaurant is the food focuses on classic Vietnamese dishes with a Western influence prepared by experienced Chefs. As many restaurants for travelers and locals, you can enjoy Vietnamese dishes like Deep Fried Hanoi Spring Rolls, Hue Spring Rolls, “Lã Vọng” Grilled Fish, Grilled Local Chicken with Lemongrass…

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Moreover, If you want to find a reliable cooking class, you can choose Madam Yen restaurant in order to learn how to cook the Vietnamese dishes. Madam Yen Cooking Class was opened in 2016 and its mission is to introduce Vietnamese authentic cuisines to other friends who travel to Vietnam and want to know deeply the local food.

If you love Vietnamese dishes, especially in Madam Yen Restaurant, you can join the class, interact with the chef to know more about the material, the herb,… everything which makes the delicious food.

The only one address of Madam Yen Restaurant:

99A Hang Gai Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam.

It is very near to Hoan Kiem Lake, you can easy to find it.

3. 5 Spice restaurant

It is located in the center of the old quarter, 5 Spice Restaurant is quite near the heart of Hanoi and is one of Must Try Restaurant in Hanoi. And it is well set in an old French house which was built in 1923, so you can feel the architecture of Hanoi in the early of that century.

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Nowadays the address of this restaurant is 27 Hong Phuc street (it is easy to find it because it is interlinked with Hang Dau street on one end and Hoe Nhai on the other. Near Hang Than St. and Nguyen Truong To st.), Ba Dinh district.

5 Spice is established since 2010, the restaurant is very confident and proud to bring you the best local food experience in Hanoi, Vietnam. As many local restaurants, it serves authentic Vietnamese food with lots of specialties of Hanoi such as “Cha ca la Vong”, Pho Ga, Hanoi “Nem”, Grilled beef in banana leaf, Grilled pork with chili and lemongrass, stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts… but you will enjoy the special decor as well as the different spices here.

You can visit 5 Spice at No.27 Hong Phuc – Ba Dinh Dist., Ha Noi, Vietnam

4. Home Hanoi Restaurant

If you choose a luxury restaurant, you can find Home Hanoi restaurant. The fusion of old-world splendor and cutting edge sophistication defines Home – Vietnamese Restaurant. The restaurant partnered the finest traditional Vietnamese food with the inspired contemporary cuisine, which is presented with warm service within spectacular surroundings.

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Here, you can enjoy the famous foods like Grilled “catch-of-the-day” with Hanoi’s herbs and rice paper roll, Half-moon cake with crab meat, “Pho” consommé with duo beef flavor…

To be served best, you should book in advance

On the other hand, if you want to find some must-try restaurant in Hanoi to enjoy local food as residents, you can visit some places below:

5. Bún Riêu – Hàng Bạc

Bún Riêu is a traditional Vietnamese rice vermicelli soup for the local family. Each family or restaurant have the different way to cook this food. However, today Bun Rieu was bún riêu cua, a popular version made with crab, tomatoes, pork, and tofu.

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You can eat Bun Rieu at the restaurant in Hang Bac, the food is served with tomato broth and topped with freshwater crab, specifically rice paddy crabs, which are pounded with the shell into a fine paste before being strained. The crab liquid is then used as a base for the soup along with tomatoes, giving it a wonderful tangy flavor. You can enjoy Bun Rieu with some kinds of vegetable and can drink a cup of Vietnamese ice tea.

Address: 11 Hàng Bạc, Quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội

Operating Hours: 7AM-10:30PM, daily

6. Bánh Cuốn Gia Truyền Thanh Vân

Banh Cuon is popular local food for Vietnamese people. Every traveler comes to Vietnam looking for this food and enjoy at least one time. In each shop, you can watch how to make Banh Cuon by the local chef. The materials are simple, but to make a delicious one is so difficult. Banh Cuon is made from a thin sheet of steamed fermented rice batter filled, seasoned ground pork and wood ear mushrooms.

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Sometimes, you can see Banh Cuon Trung, it means Banh Cuon with egg with the same method. bánh cuốn is typically made with pork but this restaurant offers other varieties as well, including rolls made with shrimp. On the other hand, to make the food more delicious, you will top with herbs and fried shallots and served with a bowl of fish sauce. And enjoy with the Vietnamese pork sausage, sliced cucumber, and some herbs.

Banh Cuon Thanh Van is also the must try restaurant in Hanoi for anyone who wants to enjoy the local food when visiting Vietnam.

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Where to eat in Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon)?


Ho Chi Minh City is famous for the fantastic restaurant system serving a combination of French, Chinese, and local Vietnamese cuisine. It has made Vietnamese food famed around the world, and brings visitors the best feeling. When you tend to travel South Vietnam, you have a question about where to eat in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)? In this article, Travel Sense Asia offers several popular restaurants for you in order to get the unforgettable trip to Vietnam. With its many street food vendors and restaurants, the city has dishes with a pleasant ambiance, stunning views, and diligent service.

1. Duong’s restaurant

Owner of Duong’s restaurants is awarded in the top 3 Masterchef Vietnam. If you want to have experience in the almost Vietnamese foods, Duong’s restaurants are the best places for you. This restaurant system offers both of traditional foods like Vietnamese noodle, the Vietnamese dish of grilled pork and noodle, Fried Spring roll… and French Fusion dishes.

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The view through the window front showed a clean space, clear design, not too stylish. A look into the card on the street convinced me to have a try. And what a pleasant surprise. Very friendly staff, explaining each served course. A tasty greeting from the kitchen. Nice glass of Australian white wine, sparkling water. Pea soup with Salmon and medium rare tuna steak with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and Chutney.

Additionally, you completely join in the cooking classes, the chef will show you how to cook any Vietnam dishes. It is very interesting.

Address: 27 Dong Du, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

2. The Refinery Bar and Restaurant

The Refinery Bar and Restaurant are currently one of the most popular establishments in Ho Chi Minh thanks to colonial fixtures, interesting cocktails and a bistro type menu of mostly French-style favorites. But the main reason for coming here is because it is such a pleasant space. It is built with floral floor tiles, high ceilings and rows of wine and liquor displayed behind the bar. It is used to operate in the courtyard, and it’s also how the bar inherited its name.

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The menu offers the menu of wines, pasta dishes, and European salads. The Refinery has a secret to make the perfect wine list by the mix a decent range of cocktails, the mojito being a particularly well-balanced mix of boozy rum with biting lime.

Address: 74 Hai Ba Trung, District 1

3. Cuc Gach Quan

Cuc Gach Quan has become so popular that it’s expanded its original premises and opened another space directly across the road as well. Cuc Gach Quan completely adopts the good ambiance, authentic and comprehensive Vietnamese food, non-intrusive service and all wrapped up in a historical building. The architecture and interior of a restaurant are designed to the traditional Vietnamese houses. The menu offers a wide range of national dishes. Thus, you are free to choose any foods you want in order to experience Vietnamese cuisine. If you want to know the various foods, you can ask the staffs who have a knowledge and good service. All the growth may have diminished the charm a tad but the food and atmosphere are still very good.

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Cuc Gach Quan is the brainchild of an architect turned foodie. And equal attention looks to have been expended on the menu and the retro decor. The emphasis is on fresh ingredients and Vietnamese flavors and the vibe is warm and homely. Prices are reasonable, despite its celebrity status. Staff are friendly and helpful too.

Address: 10 Dang Tat, Ward Tan Dinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

4. Quan An Ngon

Quan An Ngon is a place – where to eat in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) which is the housed in a renovated Vietnamese mansion with a tree-lined garden. This restaurant is designed with Chinese style. You are often delighted with the classically styled interior. If you are looking to try many casual Vietnamese such as spring rolls, black pepper crab, noodle soup, so on in a friendly environment then this is an excellent option.

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Chefs are busy cooking foods and blending fruit smoothies in the decor features. The menu is very easy to understand by English and Vietnamese descriptions and most have an accompanying picture. Following almost recommendations, Quan An Ngon is popular with locals as well as tourists by giving it a sense of authenticity. This restaurant has the team of staffs who speak English fluently and they will often recommend dishes with a simple explanation. The most special thing in Quan An Ngon is that you can enjoy all the delicious foods of Vietnam country in one sitting. In southeast Vietnam, there are mud snails in coconut milk, and spring rolls stuffed with shrimp, basil and spring onion. You will feel light and fresh, perfect. In central Vietnam, the menu offers many Hue and Hoian style noodles. Finally, in Northern Vietnam, it has beef noodle soup and crispy pastries filled with minced shrimp.

Address: 138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 1

5. Ben Thanh market

Where to eat in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)? Ben Thanh Market is one of the best places to enjoy the foods. Tourists to the market not only purchase goods or souvenirs but also have a chance to find particular images and characteristics shown in the daily activities of the inhabitants in the city. For long years, Ben Thanh Market is known as the retail market owning the largest scale. Here, you not only enjoy the traditional foods, but also you can find buy the souvenirs such as delicious food, all kinds of seasonal fruits, clothing, appliances, and others… Thus, Ben Thanh Market deserves one of the important markets in Ho Chi Minh City; it is attracting the enormous number of both domestic and foreign tourists.

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Here’s the lady vendor preparing the bowl of bún thịt nướng. Bún thịt nướng is a cold rice-vermicelli noodle dish topped with grilled pork, fresh herbs, and vegetables, then drizzled with fish sauce. Rolled in bite-sized pieces, these are great to munch on with beer. You will enjoy the place as it not only adopt the demand for foods but also the reasonable price. Like in Singapore or Penang, the street food vendors are more and more attracting clients for decades. It ensures that you will love the best and most authentic places. Ben Thanh Street Food Market is nice, but it caters to tourists.

You will know the difference between authentic and touristy examples of Vietnamese food. Or you won’t mind it as much. This market food is pleasant and comfortable. You can easily spend a few hours there just drinking beers and whiling away the time. You wouldn’t think of doing that sitting on those tiny plastic stools by the sidewalk.

Address: Le Loi, Ham Nghi, Tran Hung Dao Avenues

6. Camargue

Another restaurant is designed to the French style within the courtyard of an old colonial-era opium factory in downtown Saigon. For distance, the villa-style Camargue Saigon is equipped with many goods such as exposed beams, beautiful theme, tiled flooring, interior, candles, and a private dining room. This restaurant ensures that the staff team is very professional to adapt all questions from clients which are perfect for an intimate evening with loved ones.

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The chef of Camargue restaurant is Mickael Le Calvez who is French. Thus, this restaurant offers standout dishes such as sea bass and squid served with sweet chard, roast lamb with polenta enriched, chateaubriand with foie gras, and crispy pork leg marinated in a slight spice and caramelized artichoke. Trying to provide the perfect menu, Camargue Saigon always updates more dishes to keep things interesting. One more interesting of this restaurant is enjoying the meal at the terrace upstairs with an excellent wine. Because of the many attractive things in here, it’s worth noting that the price range here is higher compared to most international restaurants in Saigon. One recommendation for you is to order before at least 24 hours due to the popularity of this fashionable restaurant.

Address: 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, District 1

7. Hoa Tuc restaurant

Hoa Tuc means opium flower in Vietnamese – reflecting the history of its setting in a former French colonial opium factory. It’s one of the nicest restaurant spaces in Saigon with a large outdoor garden and a deco-style interior.

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Its name means ‘poppy’ in Vietnamese; an apt name for a restaurant housed in an old opium factory! This excellent location, just steps from the Park Hyatt, features a tucked-away courtyard with greenery surrounding. Great high-end cuisine in a nice casual setting. Sit inside for air-conditioned comfort or outside for an almost European vibe with big fans and lots of chitter-chatter from the four restaurants in the same courtyard. My favorite dish is the green mango salad with crispy soft-shelled crab & crushed cashews.

Since opening in 2008, Hoa Tuc’s become a favorite with expats and travelers – for good reason. The Vietnamese menu, served with a contemporary twist, is good and the staff are friendly and helpful.

Address: 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

8. Propaganda Bistro

Only steps away from the Independence Palace, Propaganda Bistro embodies modern Vietnam. Almost local people come here for cocktails in the evening, and brunch on weekends. The restaurant is decorated in colorful war-era propaganda art, with the slogans altered to sentiments about healthy eating and lifestyle. The food here is just as fresh and colorful as the décor. Go for the fresh spring roll with tempura prawn & avocado, and the bun thit nuong – (vermicelli noodle bowl with grilled pork, herbs, vegetables, and fried spring roll).

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If you want to get a sense of Vietnam’s street food traditions minus the street – plastic stools, traffic fumes and the like, Saigon’s Propaganda will be a good choice. It’s right by some of the city’s big hitting tourist attractions like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Reunification Palace too.

From the people behind successful Saigon eateries like Hoa Tuc, Au Parc, and Blanchy St, Propaganda has a relaxed cafe vibe, friendly staff and a great outlook over one of Saigon’s few downtown green spaces. It’s located in a row of picturesque shophouses.

Popular Vietnamese dishes like bun thit nuong, banh mi bread rolls and a long list of others are lovingly served. Local purists might insist that these dishes always taste better on the street. But even if that’s true, as a visitor you’re not likely to notice. This is a nice space to spend some time – but it gets busy.

Address: 21 Han Thuyen, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

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From Novice to Speaker: My Vietnamese Journey


​It’s another typical family dinner. I am sitting around a table of at least 10. Everyone is laughing, shouting, and exchanging jokes and stories over delicious food. But I may as well be eating alone. See, we are at my boyfriend Derek’s family home. Derek is Vietnamese, and while I will never turn down a meal that involves ​Vietnamese food, I can’t help but feel dispirited when everyone is speaking to one another in a language that I can’t understand. After one too many empty plates and missed jokes, I vowed to Derek that I would one day learn Vietnamese. Just a few weeks later, on my birthday, Derek surprised me with Rosetta Stone Vietnamese and told me to “put my money where my mouth is.” Challenge accepted. To this day I don’t think he ever expected what would come next, and to be honest, neither did I. 

Vietnamese food - Learn to speak Vietnamese

​Munching on some traditional Vietnamese fare. 

​At the time I was in Liverpool, England, filming a show called “House of Anubis.” On set we have lots of breaks and I started filling in those moments with my ​Vietnamese lessons. I was instantly hooked. Thirty minutes a day turned into hours and I found myself looking forward to every spare moment I had just to get a few more lessons in. I loved how I could pop open the app whenever, wherever I was and start learning. If I was on set between takes and couldn’t make noise, I would do a reading or vocabulary lesson. When I was alone in my trailer between scenes, I would focus on my pronunciation. Derek came to visit again 6 weeks later and I hadn’t said a word about what I had been up to. I took him to a little Vietnamese restaurant I had started frequenting in Liverpool’s historic Chinatown. He nearly fell out of his chair when, out of the blue, I introduced him to my new friends and ordered our entire lunch . . . in Vietnamese! 

​”I loved how I could pop open the app whenever, wherever I was and start learning.”

I kept my lessons up regularly over those next few months and by the time I came home I was speaking conversational Vietnamese. Not only was it so rewarding on a personal level to feel I had made such an accomplishment, but it was so exciting to go out, practice my new language, and surprise people. Looking at me, no one would expect that I would start blurting out Vietnamese, and that’s what made it so much fun. But this fun hobby I’d picked up became something life-changing when I went to Vietnam for my first time. I knew I wanted to go, there isn’t anywhere on earth I wouldn’t want to travel to, but I didn’t realize how much of an impact that trip would have on me and the person I am today. Being able to communicate with people in a foreign country in their own language turns a vacation into something so much more meaningful. It truly brings you out of being a tourist and suddenly you are a local. 

Speak Vietnamese

​With my boyfriend, Derek, during our trip to Vietnam. 

Derek and I managed to squeeze in time while I was on hiatus from “House of Anubis.” I flew from Liverpool, he flew from LA, and we met in Vietnam. I was excited to see Derek, thrilled to have some time off, but more than anything, I couldn’t wait to practice my Vietnamese​​ in the motherland! I found myself wandering the streets of Saigon in search of the best bánh mì (a delicious Vietnamese baguette filled with pâté, deli meats, and pickled veggies) and drinking cà phê sữa đá with new friends at coffee shops in Hanoi. I even haggled my way down to a lower price for a painting I bought at Bến Thành Market! Me . . . haggling . . . in Vietnamese! I can’t even haggle back home in English!

Learn to Speak Vietnamese

​Biking with ​a tour guide in the Mekong Delta. 

​But one experience shines above all the rest. I will never forget my trip to Cu-Chi tunnels, north of Ho Chi Minh City (still referred to by expats as Saigon). The Cu-Chi tunnels are a vast and highly sophisticated network of tunnels that the Viet Minh and later the Viet Cong built to infiltrate the South during the decades long wars. Today, the site is a popular tourist destination where visitors get the chance to walk through the tunnels and learn about what life was like for the millions of Northern soldiers during those long years. It’s a deeply emotional experience, especially for Americans, who have suffered their own traumas but have only been exposed to one side of this complex and brutal part in both American and Vietnamese history. When I was down in the tunnels, I no longer thought in terms of Northerner/Southerner, Vietnamese/American, or communist/capitalist. All I could think of was the horrors of war and the sacrifices people made to survive and fight for what they believe in.  

​”When I was down in the tunnels, I no longer thought in terms of Northerner/Southerner, Vietnamese/American, or communist/capitalist. All I could think of was the horrors of war and the sacrifices people made to survive and fight for what they believe in.”

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​We had a long bus ride to get to the tunnels and I passed the time by striking up a conversation with our tour guide. Between his broken English and my conversational Vietnamese, we were able to connect on a much deeper level. He told me the story of his experience during the war, how he dreamed of being a doctor but the war got in the way and he had to leave medical school and serve. After the war he tried to escape three times, but was sent back again and again. At that stage I only had a few days left of vacation and, to be honest, I had been dreading going back to work. I was homesick, I missed my family, and I really didn’t want to go back to cloudy England. When I talked to him I realized how ungrateful I had been acting. Here was this man who, for reasons completely out of his control, was unable to follow his dreams. And here I was, fulfilling my passion, and yet I was complaining about petty things like the weather. At that moment I swore I would never forget this conversation. And I haven’t.

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​The Vietnamese man, whose story changed my life.

I still have his photo on my windowsill. It’s moved with me everywhere I have lived, from Liverpool, to Los Angeles, to New York, to Bogotá​, and every time I look at that photo, I am reminded of that conversation and that time in Vietnam. It makes me think of all the people around the world who I have come across and never spent the time to get to know, or never been able to communicate with. He will probably never know how much he meant to me, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to have spoken with this man and for my time spent in beautiful Vietnam. Language really is the ultimate connector. 

​Explore Vietnamese and start speaking like a local today with Rosetta Stone. 

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