Elijah Ferrian sheds light on a fresh newcomer to a quickly-growing section of District 2 on the other side of Hanoi highway. Photos by Vinh Dao.
Plants and bright colours are everywhere. Pasaporte seems more like a place at home in Latin-America than Vietnam. This open-air restaurant presents international cuisine all under one roof in a part of the city that is dominated by quan an and com tam locales.
Tabo Ichikawa’s vision is for families to come and try something new. He’s passionate, always making sure that service and food is happening according to the standards that he has established. The kitchen is open, the space is breezy and inviting. It’s surprisingly cheap, and a welcome addition to the neighbourhood that should hit home with foreigners and locals alike that don’t always want to head to the city centre or Thao Dien for some international fare.
Beer can chicken (VND286,000 full – VND160,000 half) is a full chicken nestled over a beer-filled Heineken can to provide malted moisture, keeping the insides of an expertly roasted, brown crackle-skin chicken perfectly juicy throughout. If you’ve never been blessed with trying this dish, you have to head to Pasaporte. The staff carves the bird up for you and serves it on a wood platter with dipping sauces, lettuce, vegetables and tortillas for wrapping.
Paper chicken (VND86,000) is a Singapore-style dish, that’s carefully unwrapped like a tasty gift. Roasted chicken, ginger, and scallion.
Pasaporte’s Cuban sandwich (VND116,000) hits the spot for Westerners. Fantastic bread (which is the most important part), coarse-grain mustard, house-made pickles and plenty of pork.
The restaruant has a fantastic selection of individual-portioned items, like the stewed pork belly noodle bowl (VND168,000), and larger shared plates like a curry hotpot (VND365,000), “White” BBQ Party (VND330,000) with your choice of short ribs and spareribs for VND138,000, or chicken and shrimp with salted yuzu paste for VND88,000. They also have a vegetarian option that comes with a host of fresh veggies like mushrooms, onions, peppers and tomatoes.
Vegetarians rejoice. Pasaporte takes care of you all with a genuinely interesting selection of Japanese-influenced cuisine that livens up the selection from the usual “veggie burger”, or hummus wrap. Grilled soybeans with peperoncini (VND39,000), pickled island shallots with miso (VND66,000), stir-fried konbu seaweed (VND78,000), and stir-fried green papaya (VND66,000) are just a few on offer from the kitchen.
If the food selection wasn’t good enough already, Pasaporte provides a compact but well-executed assortment of sushi options. Pressed sushi rice topped with salmon (VND138,000) comes served as atypical rectangles of delectable sushi rice topped with bright-pink salmon cuts, lemon, olive and the traditional accompaniments of wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce.
Pasaporte sports a full bar with craft beers from Platinum and Pasteur Street, as well as the traditional offerings of Tiger and Heineken draft.
Mums and Dads fear not, this place is as kid-friendly as parents could hope for.