An answer to the question of where to find affordable, delicious Chinese food in Saigon. By Michael Tatarski. Photos by Vinh Dao.
Ask anybody who knows a bit about Saigon where to get Chinese food and they will invariably say: “Just go to District 5.” However, as a fairly long-time resident of said district, I can assure you it is not that simple. While there are a number of Chinese eateries in the area, they are often tucked away down hems or obscure side streets and take some effort to find. Fortunately, the wonderful Sui Cao Viet Nuong is located right on Tran Hung Dao, one of the main drags running through Cholon and under five minutes from District 1.
The glass doors open up to a simple restaurant with little in the way of decorations. The walls are largely bare, while a small Buddha statue keeps watch over diners from a counter towards the back. You don’t come to a place like this for atmosphere though, as it’s all about the food, and the menu delivers. Rather surprisingly, the dishes are listed in English, in addition to the expected Chinese and Vietnamese. Fill out the provided sheet with how many of each dish you want and the waiter will take it away to the kitchen.
The selection includes dumplings, both fried and boiled, soups, noodles, rice, vegetables and several interesting side dishes such as pig stomach and ear. Prices are reasonable, with most dishes costing around VND50,000, while the larger side dishes run up to VND120,000. The standard soft drinks are offered, with the beer menu enlivened by the addition of Tsingtao for VND25,000.
We began with a plate of beautiful sui cao chien (fried dumplings,VND50,000), a healthy serving of pork and spinach-stuffed goodness. Mix a concoction of garlic, chili and soy sauce in a side dish and dip the dumplings for an explosion of flavour. Next up was banh hanh (scallion pancake, VND30,000), a crispy delight that you won’t find very often here.
With a number of enticing soup options, we went for the sui cao mi canh bo (dumplings with noodles in beef soup, VND50,000). A dark, rich broth contained thick, chewy noodles, pig stomach, bok choy and three plump dumplings. The hearty bowl could easily be shared between two people. We added a plate of bo xoi xao toi (stir-fried spinach, VND40,000) for some green, which tasted just like it should.
Anyone craving Chinese food should pay Sui Cao Viet Nuong a visit, as you can feast on amazing food without emptying your wallet. Best of all, it’s easy to find, a blessing in a city of often confusing addresses. The restaurant also sells its own chili sauce and rice wine.
964 Tran Hung Dao, D5
Tel: 09 33 785 258
10am-2pm, 4pm-10pm daily