Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown, located in the center of District 5, seems quiet in the morning but bustles at night.
Vietnamese people have a funny quotation. ‘The best food is Chinese Food, the best wife is Japanese Wife, and the best house is Western House.’ So what’s interesting about Chinese food? What makes it so attractive? Today, I’m will discover the answers for you in a very “Chinese” way: a Chinese food tour at Chinese-owned restaurants right in the heart of this dynamic little Saigon.
We started the tour with a very famous dish from China: Roasted Duck. We actually don’t have any idea what roasted duck tastes like in China, but if they display their food like the picture below, wouldn’t you rush inside and order one immediately? I’m definitely would. Yum!
In Vietnam, people usually come to these type of stores to take away the roasted ducks, so most of them don’t have tables and chairs for customers to sit down. They only have a huge rack covered by glass where they can hang up the yummy roasted ducks inside.
The way they cook the ducks is interesting to watch. Five steamed ducks are hung around a huge clay pot which is already lit up inside. Then, after about 30 – 45 minutes, we have the best duck in town. Are you wondering why those ducks have that tasty, crunchy kind of orange look? It’s because they’re grilled with honey. Sounds fascinating right?
The restaurant I’m showed you in this article is very old and has been around for more than 60 years. Their ducks are tender, juicy, and tasty and served with a special kind of pepper sauce. That’s why even though they don’t do any marketing, they always have a crowd from early morning till night. The former owner was born in Guangzhou, China who came to Vietnam, married a Vietnamese woman and opened this restaurant. His daughter now runs the family business for him.
Read more: The Unspoken Rules of Cho Lon (Saigon’s Chinatown)
We usually eat roasted ducks with dumplings or sticky rice. But we think you may just want to enjoy the duck by itself cause its taste is so amazing that you’ll never want to stop eating it! Another positive for this resto is their spotless kitchen. It’s clean and totally open so people can see everything that’s happening inside. You don’t have to worry about the food quality, I’m always shows you the best.
Name of restaurant: Vit quay Quoc Ky
Address: 471 Tran Phu Street, Ward 7, District 5, HCMC
Operation Hours: 7:00AM – 10:00PM
Handmade Fresh Noodles
The next treat is no less special: dried char siu noodles. I’m will take you to a family noodle store, in a small alley, where they have a super special way to dry their noodles. Let’s check it out.
The first impressive sight you’ll see as soon as you enter this store is an old wooden cart which was made by the first owner. For 70 years, his daughter has never wanted to replace it with a modern trolley, so she just tries to fix it if anything breaks.
You can find all kinds of noodles here cooked in different ways. Everything from char siu to wonton noodles served dry or in a noodle soup. And every one of them is super yummy in the Chinese way. You know the noodles are soooo special when they remain chewy. Even if we eat them slowly, they’ll never become squashy.
While we were here, we ordered two bowls of dried char siu noodles, and we’re wowed by them once again. The cook made the noodle preparation looks so easy, but actually, it takes a lot of finesse. They just throw the noodles into boiled water for a short time, then pull them out with a big rake. They then use a big pair of chopsticks to tap on the rake, so the noodles jump up and down until they’re dry. What a skillful technique. Check it out in the video.
The salty taste of char siu pork mixed with crunchy shrimp crackers and oyster sauce create a perfect combination in your mouth. The noodle soup is also delicious, so even when customers order the dried noodles, they usually want to have a bowl of soup along side. The soup is salty and sweet at the same time. You can smell the delicious pork and the green onion scent wafting from the bowl.
The salty taste of char siu pork mixed with crunchy shrimp crackers and oyster sauce create a perfect combination in your mouth.
This resto opens very early in the morning and doesn’t close until 1 AM. The place is always full of people, who leave with big smiles and bags of delicious noodles. You couldn’t just enjoy this scrumptious dish on our own, so we decided to share the fantastic place with our future customers.
Name of restaurant: Thieu Ky
Address: 66/5 Le Dai Hanh street, Ward 7, District 11, HCMC
Operation Hours: 7:00AM – 1:00AM
And last but not least, let’s have some dumplings at one of the most Chinese stylish restaurants. If you’re a Chinese food lover, you definitely can’t skip this place. Why do we consider this place stylish? It’s because the staff all have very distinctive Chinese uniforms. They’re also very thoughtful and friendly to their customers. So even though the price is quite high compared to the street stalls, it’s still the first choice for people who want to enjoy good food in a more luxurious setting.
This restaurant has over 20 kinds of dumplings for you to choose. Each of different type is placed in a small steaming basket which makes a table full of dumplings a magnificent sight. But they’re not just pretty. Every single one of them has a unique taste.
Char siu dumplings are highly recommended for their tasty minced pork inside. Shrimp steamed rolls will not only impress with their appearance but also because of their savory, soft shrimp meat. There are many more treats such as crab shumai, fried pork with sweet rice-flour puffs, dumplings with pork and Chinese parsley, and meat rolls with oyster sauce…The list goes on.
Name of restaurant: Dimsum My Thuc – Tien Phat
Address: 18 Ky Hoa Street, Ward 11, District 5, HCMC
Operation Hours: 6:00AM – 12:30PM
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