for part 2 of this post (with photos of the food!) – here’s it!
really good international-asianish buffet at the spanking-new parkroyal at pickering. it’s managed to bring some modern cool to this area – which despite growing into a hipster enclave, has kept to kitschy old-means-retro, rather than a modern aesthetique. this post also marks my first post back in singapore, and boy am I excited about that – I have an incredible backlog of posts and so ready to share.
so, the short: one of the better buffets, a small but good spread (might be subjective), and a lovely, gorgeous space with great service and no issues you’d associate with new establishments. this first post on the place is more space-descriptive – the eating comes in the next onehere!
located at 138 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Bến Nghé, Ho Chi Minh. recommendations needed (we like the first floor), website here, tel +84 8 3825 7179.
good seafood in kitschy pavilion-like building. we’ve passed this restaurant quite a few times, and always resisted getting in here – but decided to be adventurous one night, and it was a pretty good thing (unlike our previous adventure at the japanese restaurant). the place is a little more overtly touristy, and while less refined than ngoc suong or song ngu, the food was pretty good, and worth a return. (it’s not as good as the other two establishments though, but that’s not because this was failing in any way. rather, those two are superlatively good)
pretty good cantonese dimsum at the cathay, and a good choice for fine-chinese-dining where there aren’t many options in this category. I’ve been here twice now, so it’s definitely good enough to warrant a return visit, but I must say that the paradise chain does it much better for me (and with varying price points to suit your different moods as well, such a good thing) – the food here is pretty decent, though service can be very harried – they never really seem to have enough staff, though when they are tending to you they do a pretty good job. it’s more of a bring-the-parents sort of place, rather than one for manic-scoffing-down-of-liu-sha-bao, as I’m prone to crave.
(surprisingly) rather good cantonese-teochew-chinese food in the slightly-abandoned centrepoint shopping mall. this isn’t a real review, since I was here for my partner’s sister’s wedding dinner – so this is more useful as a guide to a chinese wedding dinner (if you’re new to this sort of thing), if you’re considering venues for your own celebration dinner, and as a reference to the skills of the kitchen.
they fared really well, actually. reasonably priced, generous portions of food that we couldn’t finish, and really rather impressive cooking – especially at such volumes.
located at 172 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, P.6, Q.3. recommendations needed (best get a table on the air-conditioned second floor if you’re a tourist), website here, tel (84.8) 3930 2379.
utterly fantastic seafood in a new restaurant with quick and efficient service, our new favourite place in ho chi minh. just as with song ngu, we’ve been coming here for years, though we used to prefer that restaurant to this place – but that has switched about. ngoc suong is now in a new location, with a slick new building and lots of waiting staff, modern furnishings and improved food – everything we could want from a restaurant, really.
really good seafood in downtown ho chi minh – used to be one of our favourite restaurants but standards seem to have dropped a wee bit, although this place is still a fantastic option for a meal. my family comes to ho chi minh to eat – and shop a little – and not much else, and seafood is our only agenda – lots of it, and as fresh and big as we can get it.
this is my parent’s 7th trip to hcm, and my 4th, and on each trip we have returned to this place for its more refined (than another place I’ll share after this) ambience and good food, as well as the frequent performances from a lady up on a podium in the middle of the restaurant playing a traditional instrument. on this visit, she wasn’t here – and it seems to me that after four years of not coming here, the food is still very good, even if I expected it to be better.
good poon choi and service at this old establishment in the even older orchard hotel. this was our traditional dinner out on the first night of chinese new year, and it’s pretty much become standard practice for the meal to revolve around poon choi – essentially a basin of dried seafood and meat in a savoury sauce.
incredibly fantastic chinese vegetarian at novena square. my dad’s been talking about this place for the longest time – and we’ve walked past it for years – and I’m so glad we finally came. chinese vegetarian food can be a bit of an unknown beast, no matter how often you eat it, because some places rely heavily on gluten and flour/bean-based mockeries of meat; a huge travesty since there is so much beauty in well-cooked vegetables and fungi. this place falls squarely in the celebrate-the-best-of-vegetables category, and is my recommendation for a vegetarian chinese-new-year-or-not dinner, if you’re so inclined.