Phuc Kien Good Food
Fujian (also called Fukien or Foukien) is a province on the southeast coast of China, bordering Jiangxi and Guangdong. The majority of the Chinatowns around the world, including Chinese areas in Vietnam, are based on this particular region. In Vietnam, Fukienese or nguoi Phuc Kien are very popular for their way of doing business, and even more so for their cuisine.
Inside a small courtyard deep down two alleyways off of Hem 513 on Gia Phu Street in District 6, you’ll find Gia Phu Phuc Kien restaurant. There are well-placed signs on the main street and in the alley, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding it. However, going to District 6 from the city centre is another story. I’ve been here a few times and I have to say it reminds me more of a Chinese home than a restaurant, and the alley’s decor, signage and people make it feel more like walking in China than Saigon.
On a recent visit to this restaurant, we sat down for a nice pot of lotus tea and ordered some of their house specialties. One of these dishes is oyster omelette with chives, green onions and hagou flour (the same type used in the shell of dumplings). The flour makes the omelette sticky, adding an interesting texture to the dish. Another specialty is the steamed and salted chicken served with wok-fried garlic and spring onions. I am usually not a big fan of Vietnamese chicken since it is often tough, but this dish is an exception.
One of my favourite dishes here is the stuffed bitter melon and Mirasol pepper, or ot sung trau (buffalo horn chilli) with fish paste, which is wok fried and topped with black soybean, chopped spring onions, chopped chilli pepper and black pepper sauce.
The last dish we ordered was a massive braised pork knuckle with toc tien, a vegetable that appears to have black hair on it when dried and has a soft texture similar to very fine vermicelli after it has been soaked. In Chinese it means “hair vegetable” and in Vietnamese, “angel hair”. It is no surprise, then, that this is a very popular dish among locals because it represents good health and long life. Served with a five-spiced sauce and coriander, it is simply divine. I recommend you order it in advance and ask them to cook it longer, which will make it much more tender.
Gia Phu Phuc Kien
513/28 Gia Phu, D6
08 39 67 02 65