Elijah Ferrian sits down at this Ben Thanh alleyway Vietnamese establishment that specialises in authentically-presented traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Photos by Vinh Dao.
Bep Me In is in a pretty sweet area. Nestled right next to Mayhem, the awesome clothing store, down a sweet little alley where ladies get their feet massaged and nails done on plastic chairs.
It’s very authentic feeling, and the food also aims to present other parts of Vietnam in an authentic way as well.
Albin DeForges is the owner, and he helped bring some clarity into just exactly what Bep Me In is to him.
“The idea of Bep Me In came from few inspiration and situation.” DeForges explains. “The first point came from the location of the restaurant. The fact of coming down the alley, makes people feel to go back in time, or at least to get away from the noisy street surrounding Ben Thanh Market and entering a nest of a more relaxed environment. Due to that we want to bring a feel of home cooking and a more classic Vietnamese culinary experience, but to differentiate ourselves from the dishes you will find in most Vietnamese restaurants in the area aiming for the expat and tourist crowd.”
I’d say if that’s what the team at Bep Me In was going for after opening last July, they’ve done a pretty great job at capturing it.
I imagine if I was a tourist that approaching this restaurant after walking through this alley, most likely on accident, would be like one had found a secret spot that just happened to serve a great variety of Vietnamese dishes that one would have to travel all over the country to sample.
Fried rice in coconut with shrimp and egg served in a halved coconut shell for VND85,000.
BBQ beef skewer countryside-style. Grilled lemongrass marinated beef skewers Crushed peanuts, handful of fresh herbs and greens at VND165,000.
Bun Cha Me In-style. Grilled pork patties and rice noodles with sweet and spicy fish sauce-based dipping sauce coming in at VND85,000
These are quite a varied selection for a Vietnamese restaurant to serve, and most if not all of their menu is extremely shareable.
“The selection of the food came from a discussion from what I felt was different from a Western point-of-view
from other Vietnamese restaurants, as well as taking into account my in law’s flavour from the countryside.” Deforges says.
“The importance of the selection for us was to make sure we were serving fresh products, with no MSG, and bringing the authenticity of the recipes done as if you were at some family party in the countryside.”
”On the drink side, we reflect a similar approach where we wanted to introduce local drinks. A list of preserved fruit drinks, tea and coffee of course, but as well local beers and wines. Obviously grape wine, but as well as a range of rice wines.”
If you want to impress your friends that are visiting from out of town, and you have to do the whole Ben Thanh market thing with them, you’d look pretty great bringing them to Bep Me In.