This busy hole-in-the-wall is all about grilled chicken. Even their butts. By Michael Tatarski. Photos by Vinh Dao.
While eating at comfortable, high-end restaurants is nice every once in a while, I generally prefer dining at a local quan, where you can get piles of food for a pittance and soak up Saigon’s street life. One such example is Quan Ga Nuong Anh Tuyet, a tiny eatery that specialises in, quite literally, nose-to-tail grilled chicken.
The bustling restaurant ticks all of the standard quan boxes when it comes to style: the interior is not much bigger than a closet, the flooxqr is linoleum, the walls a faded white and the child-sized seating is entirely made of stainless steel. Out front, a couple of tables allow diners a close-up of the cramped, hectic road while a steady stream of smoke pours off the busy grill. Whatever you order, I guarantee you will leave smelling like the food you ate.
The barbecue is the focus of Anh Tuyet, as evidenced by the piles of meat stacked nearby. While there are a few non-poultry dishes on the compact menu, including grilled octopus, quail and okra, the chicken reigns supreme. Anh Tuyet’s options begin with grilled chicken head and end with, yes, grilled butt. In between you can have grilled wings, heart, legs and thigh.
We decided to go with an order of canh ga (wings, VND 20,000 for two pieces), dui ga (thigh, VND 22,000 for two), two skewers of phao cau ga (butt, VND 8,000 per skewer) and a plate of dau bap (okra, VND 15,000). This was all served with a fantastic, slightly spicy chicken gizzard sauce and a loaf of bread (VND 3,000).
The wings and thighs were perfectly grilled, with crispy, slightly-charred skin and juicy meat. The butt was a new dish for me, and it was a delight. The meat was a bit chewy, which went well with the crisp skin, and the flavour is excellent.
Anyone who likes grilled chicken would enjoy this, and it’s best to just ignore any concerns you may have over what part of the body it comes from. In my humble opinion it’s best to use as much of an animal as possible anyway. Oddly enough, for such a meat-centric place, the okra was phenomenal, with a wonderful marinade that added loads of flavour to the hearty helping of green.
Anh Tuyet is located in an extremely Vietnamese neighborhood, making it a perfect escape from the expat bubble. It would also be a good place to take visiting friends, so you can brag about all the butt you’ve been eating. The cheap, delicious grilled dishes will surely have you coming back for more.