District 6, part of Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown (or Cho Lon as the locals call it), is a mecca for foodies – especially if you’re looking to give your tastebuds a treat of East Asian flavors.
From restaurants that serve southern and northern Vietnamese dishes, all the way up to Chinese cuisine, here are 10 of the best establishments to be found hidden along the streets and alleyways of District 6.
Quite possibly the district’s favourite vegetarian joint, Quan Âm is located in a big alley off Binh Tien Street. On the menu, you will find delicious plant-based takes on your favourite meaty Vietnamese dishes, including phở, bún chả and hủ tiếu. The food not only comes in big portions but it is beautifully presented as well. Prices start from around USD $1 for drinks and can reach up to $10 per dish. International options available.
Seven Wonders Restaurant is ideal for good family fun. The restaurant is built to resemble a castle with colourful lights, plenty of cute pastel-coloured decorations and arty spaces for taking pictures. The menu offers Vietnamese and Chinese fusion cuisine, and favourites include sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf, steamed dumplings and papaya salad. As the parents enjoy a nice sit-down meal over some rice wine, the kids can run around and play.
Gia Phú Phúc Kiến is named after the beautiful coastal province of Fujian in northeast China. This restaurant welcomes visitors with a giant Chinese sign at the entrance and beautiful interior decorations that make you feel as if you have temporarily left Vietnam. The menu is also in Chinese—plenty of noodle soups and dumpling varieties, all the way to delicious steamed and stir-fried dishes. The menu is so large that you will not run out of options to pick. Try the Phật nhảy tường, a speciality from Fujian: if you translate this word for word, it equates to ‘Buddha jumping off the wall’ in English. The dish’s name alludes to its ability to entice Buddhist monks to momentarily leave behind their vegetarian diet and partake in this meat-based feast.
Ho Lo is known for its consistent quality, large portions and affordable prices. Great for casual dining or a night out with friends, you can order a large spread of Vietnamese dishes and enjoy what the locals call a ‘family-style’ meal. The bar serves up some great cocktails to go with your meal. The service is also quick and if you’re having a tough time deciding what to eat from their extensive menu, just ask for a recommendation.
Fancy some beef steak? Head over to Beeftex—a restaurant named after a play on how Vietnamese people pronounce the word. The venue stands out from the rest of its neighbours down Tan Hoa street, thanks to its big neon sign. On the menu, you will find various beef-related dishes, from appetizers such as stir-fried beef to main courses like a nice big ol’ steak. Remember to ask for a side of the homemade sauce, no matter what you opt for. During meal times the restaurant gets full despite the huge space, so call and reserve your spot! Prices are also cheap.
Nhan Phật is a great alternative to Beeftex, and instead of serving Western dishes, the menu items here are solely Vietnamese. Nhan Phật is known for specializing in dishes originating from Tây Ninh province in Vietnam, including steamed beef with ginger, rare beef with lemon, beef hot pot and beef soaked in vinegar. The beef in Tây Ninh is known to be very tasty due to their agricultural standards, and the dishes here are testament to that.
Hẻm Quán (or the Alley) serves up a huge menu, with options ranging from a simple fried rice all the way to a complex hot pot of many flavours. Despite the large range of choice on the menu, this place is known for its special chicken dish, called gà lên mâm (or chicken on a tray). The chicken is cooked in eight or nine different ways, and served artistically on a bamboo tray. Order some rice, lotus salad and their fried morning glory to go with it and you’ll enjoy a rollercoaster of flavours in your mouth. If chicken is not your thing, try the different set menus they serve for lunch. Or, if you’re looking to hit up more adventurous options, try their ếch núp lùm rơm, or frog cooked in straw.
Sườn Cây Nướng và Bia specializes in grilled dishes and is a favorite choice to grab a beer among the district’s locals. Portions here are large and prices extremely affordable, which is why you will often find the restaurant full, despite its large interior. The menu even includes Korean-style BBQ, where you are given the raw ingredients with a charcoal grill to make yourself. If you’re going with a group, try the set lunch for six people that comes at 900,000 VND (USD $39).
KFC and Popeyes are great, but OOO Grilled Chicken takes chicken to a whole new level. Here you will find all your typical favourites such as spicy fried and grilled chicken, but the menu takes it a step towards Asia, offering char siu pepper chicken, pequin pepper chicken, garlic fish sauce chicken, passion fruit flavours and more. The menu is a little overwhelming and even includes other chicken dishes such as hotpot – but that only means you can return time and again and try them all!
Chang Kang Kung is a popular franchise in Ho Chi Minh City, and luckily for residents of District 6 they have a branch on their home turf. This joint is famous for a menu that employs a unique method of preparation for all dishes – steaming. There is no grilling, frying or boiling of any kind. Just steaming. The chefs that work here believe that steaming their ingredients makes the food taste fresher and less oily. Adding certain herbs to the water gives a nice fragrant touch.