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“Outstanding food in an average neighborhood” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dong Hoa Xuan Restaurant

Dong Hoa Xuan Restaurant
49 No Trang Long, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
0835101771
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Ranked #125 of 1,575 Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cuisines: Vietnamese
Dining options: Delivery
Restaurant details
Dining options: Delivery
Washington DC
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Outstanding food in an average neighborhood”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2012

My in-laws family live near Cho Ba Chieu, the market only a short distance from this restaurant. So when I saw a review elsewhere, I knew the wife and I needed to try it. We were not disappointed. They have perhaps the best carmel fish (ca kho to) either of us have ever had, and she grew up in Saigon and spent time in Hanoi as well. The other dishes we had were equally good. Service was great, and although this isn't a white tablecloth place this is a very comfortable neighborhood restaurant that puts out some really fantastic food.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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23 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Boulder, Colorado, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Best way to spend an afternoon.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

On your first full day in Saigon, make the trip (easy by taxi) to this restaurant frequented almost exclusively by locals. Hai, the owner, is running around all day and producing some of the most honest, flavorful food I've had.

There are fresh bananas on the table, and a local person nearby told me this restaurant is well known because they make almost all their food from scratch everyday; this is no small feat! Come early to get the best offerings, because when they're out, they're out.

The fish cooking in clay pots with a caramelized sauce is clearly memorable, but just order a variety. Bring a large group in order to try more. The best thing I had was a bite of egg, pork and mushroom sausage that tasted so unique, especially when dipped into the accompanying chili sauce.

Also, the frog was fantasitic, rich and savory. This place is a MUST go in Saigon.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Authentic Saigon Neighborhood Food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2012

Following is a review I wrote for www.eatingsaigon.com

The truth is in the eating! I speak from my tastebuds, when I say that anyone who has time for only one meal in Saigon would be very well-advised to have that meal at Hai's place.

The past few week's have been busy ones and I haven't had time to take the bus from my apartment over to the Binh Thanh District. Today, the last day before Hai closes his doors to celebrate the Tet holiday week, I thought I'd venture over to see how his business was doing.

All the tables were full at lunchtime. Always a good indication of how the neighbors feel about the food. I sat beside a young Vietnamese couple and exchanged smiles and "Chuc Mung Nam Moi"s (Happy New Year - Tet).

I decided to try 3 dishes today - cá kho tộ, boa tử, and canh khổ qua. If you have a chance to enjoy only one meal in Saigon, breakfast or lunch, I'd consider ordering these exact 3 dishes at Dong Hoa Xuan. It turned out to be a delicious and memorable sampler of classic Saigon food!

First, cá kho tộ. Fish simmered in a rich spicy sauce. The fish steak was perfectly done. Presented in individually simmering small black ceramic pots, the fish steak was moist and meaty - with only a few bones. (Remember, in Vietnam, if it doesn't have bones,it's not fish!) The sauce was smooth, salty, a bit spicy and mostly, amazingly delicious. Small bits of green onions and bits of pork bacon floated in the caramelized sauce. I began by spooning sections of the fish and the sauce over the rice that was served with the cá kho tộ. Major yummy! I couldn't quite stop eating and move on to the next dish before hitting bottom.

But the surprise of the meal was the bao tử - pork bellies!

To tell the truth, I've tried pork belly before. After years of avoiding this questionable-sounding food item, some months ago Hai convinced me to try his version of his grandmother's specialty. One morning, I broke down and gave it a try. I remember thinking, "Oh, okay, I see - not bad ... a bit squid-like in its texture, but more flavorful -- so what else do you have?" Obviously, okay, but it was not my first choice. BUT, this morning, after Hai told me that his bao tử had now become the #1 demand of his customers, I thought maybe I had missed something before. Clearly, I had. Hai had tweaked his sauce recipe into something amazing and mouthwatering! The bellies were cooked to perfection - tender, yet firm - and the sauce, now a "secret" blend of flavors from the pork, tomatoes and yet-to-be unveiled herbs and spices, was the highlight of the entire meal! This is a must-try Vietnamese specialty.

So maybe that would have been enough for lunch ~ but I needed my veges for the day. :-) And again, my choice for this third dish, canh khổ qua, was superb. It helped put this meal and this restaurant over-the-top!

Khổ qua is a uniquely Asian vegetable, uniquely shaped and flavored. First and foremost, it's bitter. Deliciously so. Here it was presented in a soup. The firm and tender melon is filled with a ground pork and mushroom stuffing and sits in a broth that subtilely bursts (yes- that's possible) with the combined flavors of the pork, the green onion, and the bitter melon. I thought the broth itself could have been an excellent soup for lunch. But, the stuffed khổ qua is incredibly "easy and mild" to eat. Somehow it's very comforting to the belly as it completes the meal.

I left Dong Hao Xuan very impressed and very happy. As I walked back to the bus stop I thought - this is the meal, the 3 dishes to eat - cá kho tộ, bao tử, and canh khổ qua - if you have a chance to enjoy only one meal in Saigon. Again, a delicious and memorable sampler of classic Saigon food.

  • Visited February 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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