Saigon is famous for its rich culinary traditions, with cuisines from every region of Vietnam. Ngõ restaurant opened to fill the taste of guests by offering a variety of foods that can be found in popular street restaurants except now the conditions are more hygienic and comfortable.
Located inside one of the biggest food courts in the city, Ngõ stands out for its large open spaces, unlike the other restaurants which are hemmed in by glass doors and walls. The waist-height wooden hedges surrounding the dining space give the restaurant an airy atmosphere.
Ngõ is a blend of modern trappings and traditional features of the countryside. The yellow lighting system combines with earthen-toned wood furniture to create a harmonious palette of color. Hanging trap fish decorated as lampshades infuse a breath of the countryside into the dining area.
There are a lot of tables inside, designed for both solo and communal dining. The kitchen is in the back, decorated with a brick wall and wood door. There are some pictures of old Saigon on the walls.
The varied food menu centers, incredibly, on almost every local favorite, including fresh spring rolls with steamed pork and shrimp and green papaya salad with beef jerky or grilled beef wrapped in vine leaves. Broken rice is served with special ingredients like grilled pork chops and shredded pork skin or pork pie.
Besides popular noodles, Ngõ also serves vermicelli in many styles from all regions of Vietnam. Bamboo shoots and duck or chicken vermicelli soup or grilled pork and seafood spring rolls with vermicelli are traditional food in the north. You can try the different tastes of the south by ordering crab vermicelli soup snails or stuffed with minced pork and lemon leaves. Prices range from 50,000 VND to 80,000 VND.
Ngõ’s recommended treats include a wide range of hot pot recipes featuring ingredients like prawns, seafood and meat or crab. This kind of food is preferred for communal dining. Vietnamese people also consider hot pot as one of the most suitable foods for a family gatherings. It costs about 220,000 VND to 400,000 VND for a special hot pot, including rice noodles and vegetables.
Come to Ngõ, don’t forget to try traditional sour steamboat and Vietnamese pancakes. Those are the specialty of the southern residents. The crispy piece of pancake dipped into special fish sauce is a must-try.
The dessert menu opens up a world of choices full of sweet flavor, including sweet lotus seeds, sweet green or black beans, bananas in coconut milk and coconut sticky rice pudding with taro, which costs under 25,000 VND.
Street food is irresistible to a lot of people but most of them are afraid of the hygiene when they are served on the street. Ngõ tackles the problem by offering a comfortable yet traditional-inspired restaurant and reasonable prices.
Address: B3 Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, D.1
Text: Pham Chieu. Photo: Cyclo