Ca ri ga (Vietnamese chicken curry) is the Vietnamese equivalent of a chicken curry stew. Everyone knows that the famous curry dish is originally from India, with archaeological evidence of the dish’s existence dating back thousand of years. However, curry has found its way to many countries around the world, including Vietnam.
Ca ri is normally cooked with curry spice from India, sweet potato, taro roots, potato, carrots, Thai coconut milk, lime leaves, minced lemongrass, ginger and green onion, with a choice of meats. Chicken and beef are most common while goat is more popular in beer parlours.
Nestled over in the Chinatown area of District 5, the hustling and bustling food heaven is Sinh Ky Ca Ri Ga. In operation for over 30 years on the same street and location, it’s a Saigon institution. I just love these old places. What’s not to love about an eatery that has been around for a long time?
Located on Trieu Quang Phuc between the more well-known Nguyen Trai and Tran Hung Dao streets, it’s a Chinese-owned eatery, so they display and serve their ca ri ga in a classic food stall that sits in front of the dining room, although there are more tables and chairs along the sidewalk than inside the restaurant itself. Most Vietnamese prefer to eat outside while watching the busy Chinatown street.
Ca ri ga here is served with chicken, sweet potatoes, onions, chilli, lemongrass and congealed blood, with a choice of egg noodles, rice or banh mi baguette, depending on individual preferences. A mixture of salt with chilli and lime is served on the side for dipping. Add a cold glass of iced tea and you’re ready to roll.
An interesting note is that Vietnamese ca ri is served pretty much all day. Ca ri bo (beef) is quite common and popular for breakfast – with a side of baguette and a cafe sua da – while ca ri ga is popular for a late night meal, especially after an evening of drinking.
Sinh Ky Ca Ri Ga
129 Trieu Quang Phuc
6pm to 11pm
Tristan Ngo is the chef, patron and owner of Skewers Restaurant and The Elbow Room.