Eating and drinking beer with friends is at the heart of this fun Binh Thanh establishment. Review by Brett Davis. Photos by Vinh Dao.

The proliferation of beer clubs around the city is obvious to anyone, but at Leng Keng Zone the owners have extended the concept to a restaurant format.

It has a very outdoor feel with simple, retractable roof covers and not much in the way of walls. There is also, oddly enough, a road running through the middle of the joint. This narrow lane is part of the layout and ends abruptly near the kitchen at the rear of the restaurant, but it does mean you can ride your bike right up to the table and park.

The menu is fairly extensive with some surprising touches.We kicked things off with some rau rung (VND 60,000), a leafy green fried with garlic. It was a good start and made a nice change to the usual rau muong.

Then we went for some of the more interesting options on the menu. First up was the H’mong chicken (VND 128,000) grilled with salt. These dark-skinned birds are on the lean side but extremely tasty, even if it can be a little tricky to pick around the bones.

Next to arrive was the bach tuoc nuong da, or grilled octopus (VND 89,000). This dish uses a different method of grilling, with the marinated octopus tipped into a bowl containing hot volcanic stones. Then a splash of beer is added and a lid placed on top so the tentacles can simultaneously steam. The result is some super-tender and spicy octopus that, not surprisingly, called for a couple more beers to help it on its way.

Leng Keng Zone also offers some good options for larger meals to be shared among groups. You can order a whole duck (VND 580,000), H’mong chicken (VND 278,000) or regular chicken (VND 298,000) and select three different ways for it to be prepared.

If you are just looking for some snacks to accompany a few cold ones, there is a lengthy list to choose from, including fried chicken wings (VND 89,000), salted pork hock (VND 118,000) or wild boar stir-fry (VND 128,000).

Of course it wouldn’t be a beer place without the beer, and Leng Keng Zone has a reasonable range of brews to choose from at very affordable prices. Tiger goes for VND 17,000 and Sapporo is VND 21,000, while a Saigon red is just VND 13,000 a bottle. Two of the newer brands in town also make an appearance, with Budweiser going for VND 23,000 while the Czech-style pilsner Gambrinus is VND 22,000.

131 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Binh Thanh
Tel: 08 73 06 98 88
4pm – late