Fun and food are the order of the day at this great value American-style barbeque joint. Review and photos by Brett Davis.
To say that American-style barbeque has taken off in Saigon in the last year would be something of an understatement. Since the boys at Quan Ut Ut made their presence known there have been a host of followers.
Newly-minted venue B.O.C Barbeque is bringing a youthful and energetic take to the genre with their open-air venue tucked down a hem off Nguen Van Giai in District 1. Those two qualities come from the group of nine young Vietnamese professionals who are behind B.O.C.
From fields as diverse as finance, architecture, design, and advertising, the group of friends and food fanatics decided they wanted to open a place they would like to hang out in and eat the food they like to cook at home.
Vicky Ton, a 25-year-old investment fund manager who also happened to make the final 12 in last year’s Master Chef Vietnam in her spare time, said they also wanted to create value. “Vietnamese people like to eat meat, they like to eat barbeque, but many of the places are so expensive,” she said.
B.O.C certainly offers value for money. We are chatting over a dinner consisting mainly of the ‘special platter’, a heaping of slow-cooked ribs, whole chicken leg, two sausages and bacon-wrapped asparagus that will feed at least four and goes for only VND 425,000.
Add to that the best-selling tom yum chicken wings (VND 75,000) and a garden salad (VND 65,000) washed down with a Saigon Special beer (VND 19,000) and you have a seriously competitively priced fare.
Not to be defeated with that, we also tucked into the deliciously garlic-laced spicy pasta with shrimp (VND 78,000) and the clams baked with cheese and chilli (VND 50,000). The latter was a real highlight and should not be missed.
We are joined by another of the partners, 26-year-old Sarrie Bui, who works in digital marketing. She tells me about the fit out of the place which came courtesy of the architect and designer members of the group, and includes funky bottle lights, upcycled tables and a large mural painted on the hem wall.
“It’s not just about the food,” she said. “We also wanted to create atmosphere and a place that is fun to hang out in.”
It is great to see a group of smart, driven young Vietnamese men and women not afraid to pursue their ambitions. While all busy with their demanding day jobs, the restaurant opened its doors in only an eye-popping three weeks after the group came up with the idea.
While cooking, Ton and Bui start riffing on the idea of doing a tapas place. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it, in about three weeks’ time.
43 Nguen Van Giai, District 1
5pm to 11pm, 7 days