Friday, 30 March 2012

home is where the heart is.

On my recent visit to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam - amongst my many crazy and exciting culinary adventures, there's a restaurant which I think deserves a notable mention.

This restaurant is Cuc Gac Quan, translated in English simply means "The Brick Restaurant". The title is very fitting with the overall d├ęcor of the restaurant - a very provincial look and feel, it was built on the basis of an "architect's house". There's a pond with real fish, the staircases are made of wood and twigs, all the crockery are made from ceramic and even the drinking straw is made from a morning glory stem! Creative right?

The food takes you back to that special place when you were young, enjoying a simple family dinner. 
It’s nothing fancy in terms of garnishing and whatnot, however, the taste will leave you wanting more - or at least, fight with your fellow guests over the remaining pieces!

Overall, quality dishes, reasonable price and prompt service - the perfect formula for a great meal!

The entrance
Tables situated in the front courtyard
Interior  - very traditional

OUR AMAZING TABLE (used to be a bed, can you tell)

Menu - in Vietnamese and English for your convenience

burnt garlic popcorn
One of my favourite dishes in the entire world. Although my father's creation of this dish is still my ultimate favourite (just like his Pho) but Cuc Gac Quan does a pretty good job with this. It's called "mam" and basically it consists of pork, prawn paste, chilli, lemongrass, garlic etc
Grilled fish with shredded mango drowned in fish sauce...ummm...YUM!!!

Notice how the concept of the restaurant is consistent from the very minor detail such as the chopsticks holder? Amazing!!!
More traditional crockery - the teapot!

Beef, watercrest and tomato in vinegar sauce
Another ultimate favourite - water spinach crab roe soup!!!
Asian eggplant marinated in fish sauce - you can eat this together with the soup above.
Name an exotic fruit and you can have any shake you want! This is Coc aka Toad Mango, a very popular fruit in Vietnam. If you've tasted toad mangoes before, you'd know that the taste is rather sour and hence the drink is accompanied with honey!
dessert - jelly and lotus seed

So, if you're planning on visiting HCMC anytime soon, I highly recommend you drop by and have a bite here or at least try one of their amazing fruit shakes!

Cuc Gac Quan
10 Dang Tat, Ward Tan Dinh, Ho Chi Minh City District 1, Vietnam

Oh and did I mention Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie recently came here for lunch as well? ;) 

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