Elijah Ferrian gets into dumplings, and wet and dry bowls of the best noodles in Thao Dien. Photos by Vinh Dao.

It’s no secret that some of the best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City are operating in District 2. It’s also no secret that there is a distinct lack of great noodles and some choice Asian dishes that seem to be abundant in other areas of the city.

Lee’s Noodle Kitchen aims to change that, and they’ve hit the mark with their Chinese-influenced recipes, crafted through a distinctly Vietnamese style.

Owner, Mr. Lee, cooks at home and he doesn’t use MSG in his recipes. So neither do the recipes at his restaurant.

There are no unhealthy, unnecessary additives in the food here. Just fresh ingredients, recipes passed down from generations before, and a passion for great food.

Lee’s opened in September and they wanted to be the first in the neighbourhood to offer an option between kho, or dry prepared noodles quickly blanched and then tossed in sesame oil, or a noodle soup, piping hot with homemade pork bone broth. Guests can also order noodle dishes with broth on the side.

The char-xiu noodle dish pictured (VND55,000) is done kho-style. However, a guest can order the same dish with the broth and turn it into a noodle soup.

It’s a nice, customisable way to enjoy Lee’s menu, depending on the weather or your mood that day.

One of the greatest aspects to this place is the service. It’s a family-run establishment. A small shop that puts out great food.

Thuy is in the kitchen, churning out dishes that makes one feel as if their mother is back there. Julia and Loan are serving tables with a smile and an attention to detail, like making certain everyone has a small dish of delicious pickled green chillies set next to their orders.

The food here is absolutely fantastic, and very reasonably priced.

The pork and prawn dumplings that float in their wonton noodle soup (VND55,000) are delectable.

The broth they make here is seriously special. Soups are loaded with green onion and fried garlic.

Roasted duck with black pepper sauce on your choice of either rice or noodles (VND60,000) really steals the show. Perfectly roasted duck flavour blends seamlessly with crushed peanuts and a light sesame oil.

A slew of vegetarian dishes (VND50,000), lead by a stellar sweet and sour mapo tofu dish (VND60,000) makes sure everyone has a choice at Lee’s.

A cool, refreshing lemongrass tea with honey and mint, ca phe da, fruit juices, and traditonal Hong Kong-style milk tea will all run you VND25,000.

This place is a gem amongst a lot of well-known establishments in the neighbourhood. For every pizza and pasta joint easily found within the various hems of Thao Dien ward, it’s a breath of fresh air to happen upon a fantastic, authentic soup and noodle shop.

Check them out before word gets around and their small space gets regularly packed.

23 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: 0934136118
8am to 2pm, 4pm to 10