in our opinion is on 94 Dinh Tien Hoang St. (a few meters from the intersection on Dien Bien Phu St.) in District 3.
Last week was our second visit; the first one was sometime last year for a former boss’s Farewell Party. This time, we had Michelle- a well traveled Singapore-based friend from university, who has been to most upscale restos in Southeast Asia. How to show Filipino hospitality and showcase Vietnamese cuisine were the mission.
So off we went to 94 Dinh Thien Hoang, a ten-minute taxi ride from Rex Hotel on Le Loi St. where she stayed while vacationing in Ho Chi Minh City. By the time we got off the cab, we saw fresh crabs displayed in crates at the doorstep. Next to them is the cooking station where we could see pots, pans, stoves, spices and seasonings, and a lot of stainless utensils.
What was the place like? We took the only empty table at the ground floor (last year, we were on the second floor) so we could show the beauty of Vietnamese food preparation to our guest. Plus, of course, the view of speeding motorbikes and cars just two meters from the restaurant was Uniquely Vietnamese. Michelle took lots of photos while we were playing tour guides- she took snaps of the herbs ‘she wouldn’t normally eat everyday’, lime and salt-and-pepper mix, and of course, the smiling locals with their families and friends.
What did we eat? We ordered salted soft-shell crabs, tamarind soft-shell crabs, grilled prawns and stir-fried noodles with crab claw meat. And what’s a Saigonese dining without a can of 333 (read: Ba Ba Ba) beer, a glass of tra da (iced tea with NO SUGAR) and the complimentary plate herbs and greens?
How much for the meals?
Crab dishes: 200, ooo++ VND (-$10)
Stir-fried noodles with crab claw meat : 100,000++ (-$5)
Grilled prawns: 300,000VND/ 500g (-$7.50)
On our previous visit, the best one I had was their crab soup. This time, it’s definitely the sauteed soft-shell crabs with tamarind!
We have been to a number of smaller crab places and they did have great cooking too but when it comes to variety and taste, 94 Dinh Tien Hoang is the winner.
If you have been better to ones though, feel free to share it to our readers by leaving a comment below.