Aug 02 2011
Hidden down a Saigon back road in a part of District 1 that is more District 3, especially if you’re in Pham Ngu Lao, resides one of the more popular Vietnamese restaurants in the city. Cuc Gach Quan, located at 10 Dang Tat in an easy-to-miss building, is developing a great reputation for serving delicious food amid a great atmosphere; but does it live up to the hype and is it worth the adventure that finding it can be?
Finding Cuc Gach Quan can be difficult, as it is located in the confusing maze of streets in the Tan Dinh ward of District 1. From downtown, go north on Ha Ba Trung then take a left onto Ba Le Chan. When Ba Le Chan becomes Tran Nhat Duat you will take a left onto Dang Tat. Once you find it, go through the gate and you will be treated to one of the more beautifully decorated restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City.
Cuc Gach Quan was once a French colonial mansion and boasts both the old, such as antique wooden furniture and a reel-to-reel tape machine, and the new, such as an interior fish pond and floating staircase. It is a stunning setting, but be warned: the staircase is a little steep and there are some low thresholds, so even shorter people should be prepared to duck if they find themselves going to the second floor. And while I like the antique furniture, you may want to avoid some of the stranger places you can be seated, such as a four-poster bed.
While the decor is special, it’s the food that really makes Cuc Gach Quan stand out. The menu is huge, encompassing a wide variety of traditional, Vietnamese countryside cuisine, making it easy to get a little overwhelmed when ordering. The owners pride themselves on the fact that they are an organic restaurant, serving fertilizer-free rice and preservative-free meats and vegetables.
While everything they make seems to be delicious, I recommend their house-made tofu, lightly fried with lemongrass and chillies, and the sea bass, stewed in a claypot at your table along with an assortment vegetables. Also, try one their fresh juices, which are sugar free and served with a side of honey, and for dessert their house-made banana ice cream does the business. Dishes are served family-style and prices are reasonable, at around 80,000 VND per dish. With the restaurant’s growing reputation, it’s worth making a reservation in advance.
Cuc Gach Quan
10 Dang Tat, Ward Tan Dinh, District 1
08 3848 0144
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Tags: Vietnamese food