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“Five star concept and service” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Huong Lai

Huong Lai
38 Ly Tu Trong St. Dist.1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
+84 8 3822 6814
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Ranked #34 of 1,576 Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $7 - $15
Cuisines: Vietnamese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Local cuisine, Romantic, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Five star concept and service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2012

Outstanding service and a brilliant concept, this restaurant deserves five stars for it's initiative. The food is very edible - it's not fantastic but it's certainly not bad and is very well priced. Definitely worth a visit!

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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448 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
126 reviews 126 reviews
76 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“Average food, but fantastic setting and service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

We went to this restaurant because of the glowing reviews on Trip Advisor, and we were not disappointed. The restaurant was beautiful, the service attentive and cheerful, and the food was good (although not great, more on this later).

First of all, I'd like to commend this restaurant on their cause. Not many people would even think about giving back to the community while making good food and giving patrons a great dining experience. The service staff were very attentive and genuinely happy to be there, not something you see every day.

The restaurant is set on the second floor of a beautifully preserved colonial house, with charming staircase, wooden floors, and mood lighting. It was the perfect setting for a romantic dinner for two, but I was there with a bunch of noisy friends so the romance will have to wait. Other patrons were (curiously) mostly Japanese, and the manager was also Japanese. Perhaps this place is on a Japanese guidebook for Saigon or something. Maybe this explains the toned-down, clean-flavored, fresh food they serve--very reminiscent of Japanese food.

The food was not what I expected at all. All the Vietnamese food I've had so far has been a lot more liberal in their use of herbs and spices, while keeping to the freshness and lightness of the cuisine. Huong Lai's version is a lot more restrained. I could taste the herbs and spices, but they're very mild, and added just to enhance the natural, fresh flavors of the ingredients. Very much like Japanese cuisine. It's good, but when I go to a Vietnamese restaurant in Saigon, I would much prefer full-flavored food.

The most notable dish I had was the stir-fried edible flowers of some sort, they were so fresh and flavorful. We also ordered the tofu and chives soup (too bland for my palate), sweet and sour shrimps (not very Vietnamese), stewed pork belly (again, very Japanese, almost like a sweeter, thicker buta kakuni). The fresh summer rolls were very good though, probably the most Vietnamese-flavored dish on the table.

I'd recommend this restaurant for those who are still new to Vietnamese/Southeast Asian cuisine in general. It's a very good introduction to Vietnamese food.

  • Visited July 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Great food, awesome ambience, great cause”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2012

If you read most review, you will know about the street kids so no need to explain the great cause again. Food is very good, unfortunately we were there for short trip and hence I could only eat there once, else I will be back for more. A must try is the longan ice cream (not sorbet) which I have two servings. So memorable! Oh one thing to note, it's not friendly for people who can't take steps as there are no alternative other than climb the 30 odd steps.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Wellington
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great restaurant for a fantastic cause!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

This place was great and provides training for disadvantaged youth in the city. The food was beautiful and it is very affordable.

Visited October 2012
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Paris, France
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Excellent place to try Vietnamese food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

This is the perfect place to have your first Vietnamese dinner or just to have a quiet and good quality dinner.
The restaurant is located at the 1st level of an old colonial villa. The furniture matches perfectly with the old colonial style.
The food is really tasty and well cooked. You suggest to order the Huong Lai plate as an appetizer to try the spring rolls and the lotus salad. We had a beef lemongrass and a chicken with ginger, delicious !
The waiters are very attentive, quiet and so welcoming.
I would definitely go back there and advice this place to my friends.
And the food is totally afordable : about 50 000 VDN for vegetables and 98 000 VDN for the meat and fish.
Just make sure to arrive before 9 pm (closing time of the kitchen). The only disadvantage is that the restaurant closes at 10 pm. So make sure you arrive early !

  • Visited October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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