If there is one thing that many Westerners living in Southeast Asia can agree on, is that it’s a part of the world missing one beautifully pungent, fine food group: cheese. Luckily, Saigon has a bevy of places to get your Roquefort freak on. We braved the elements and unknowns in order to bring you this list of the best gourmet cheese experiences Ho Chi Minh City has to offer. By Elijah Ferrian. Photos by Vinh Dao.
230 Nguyen Van Huong, District 2
This French-Vietnamese owned cheese and wine bar bakes its own phenomenal breads, imports the finest cheeses from all over the French countryside, and has a unique Spanish wine list running right now that is sure to make anyone with a hankering for all things fermented and aged find a gastronomic zen moment.
Located in Thao Dien near other popular joints like Evita and Om, Le Padam aims to satisfy with a level of cheese that isn’t matched elsewhere in the city. The price matches the authenticity of the artisanal stuff that they love to provide the neighbourhood with, and I sure as hell have never been let down anytime I’ve gotten my hands on their insane Roquefort, or Camembert de Normandie. Run into Le Padam and tell Cyrille and Ann hello. They are always there to greet you with a kind smile, and a wealth of knowledge about what they serve.
Sofitel Saigon Plaza
17 Le Duan, Disrict 1
Sofitel Saigon Plaza is extravagant and beautiful on the inside, but their Cheese Buffet is on another level of decadence. It’s VND910,000 per head, every Thursday at 6.30pm, and it’s completely worth it.
There are so many things going on as far as the funky stuff goes, it’s out of control.
The buffet serves well over 30 different kinds of cheese from all over the world. There is a station with a man doing just cheese, a guy slicin’ up cold cuts, and then a whole other world of food going on that’s not cheese related. The night we showed up they were melting gooey Raclette and layering it with ham on plates. A giant plate of melted cheese. It was glorious. They had a fondue station set up, and we sampled some of the most intense cheeses I’ve ever had the pleasure to sample, as well as getting some solid favourites to munch on like Beaufort, Ossau-Iraty, and a phenomenal Fourme d’Ambert. The wine flows, and homeostasis is easily achieved.
Latitude 10 Bar and Lounge
6A-3 Ton Duc Thang, District 1
Another Thursday night cheese marathon is happening down at Le Meridien from 6 to 9pm. They are all about spreading the cheese love, and it absolutely shows, and the price is just right for those trying to get a variety of different tastes at a more competitive budget.
The folks at Le Meridien provide a buffet that’s all about increasing the joy of living for all in attendance. Their little chic and elegant Wine and Cheese night at Latitude 10 Bar and Lounge includes a nice spread of French and Italian cheeses, with a beautifully free-flowing wine setup, boasting bottles from Australia, Chile, and Spain. There’s an assortment of imported cold cuts, house-made duck liver pate and pistachio terrine, and a bunch of bread options like rye and focaccia. If you’ve got a free Thursday evening, make your way over to this historic area of Saigon, and dig into some wine and cheese delights.
Brix Wine Bar
42 Pasteur, District 1
We don’t usually like to double dip when it comes to mentioning restaurants, but this month after experiencing brand new Brix Wine Bar, we couldn’t help but give them the nod for a spot on this list. Their cheese board is absolute perfection. They have a walk in wine cellar that guests can mosey around in and select the wine that they fancy. It’s exactly what this Top 5 was aiming for.
The management is knowledgeable about both the cheese and the wine. and the selection of cheese varies based on whatever unique delights they can get their hands on. The Girolle skims off the phenomenal ‘Monk Head’ cheese that they were featuring, and the wine glasses were refreshing and buy one get one during their happy hour! I won’t get into too much detail (check out our review of this spot in our City Drink feature), but I highly recommend just expecting this place to be your primary when headed to D1 for a good slice of cheese.
Saigon Centre – B2-11, 65 Le Loi Boulevard, District 1
Easiest the greatest retail joint to fill the cheesy void in your heart. There is a huge selection of constantly changing cheeses from all over the globe, allowing even the cheesiest cheese fanatic to pick up some pretty nice stuff, but at a retail price that won’t break the bank.
There’s something to be said for hopping in the friendly neighbourhood fine foods store, geeking out on some newly arrived Comte, or Vietnamese-made chorizo (yes you read that correctly), buying as much as you need, accompanying it with a nice complex bottle of white or red wine, and heading home to cosy up on the couch with a loved one. Going out for cheese is awesome, but bringing the cheese home for a romantic time on a stormy night with your better half, can very rarely be beat. Obviously there’s Annam locations all over the city, but the Saigon Centre store has the widest selection, and if you’re feeling exceptionally lazy, you can always have their signature cheese board delivered to your home.