Sunday, 26/02/2023 10:28

Izakaya Ten brings Japanese drinking experience

Izakaya Ten, located in Thái Văn Lung Street in HCM City’s District 1, is very lively during the weekends. VNS Photo Việt Dũng

By Việt Dũng

For those looking for a lively Japanese drinking and dining experience with friends, Izakaya Ten is well worth checking out.

As the name makes clear, Izakaya Ten in District 1’s Thái Văn Lung Street is an izakaya, a type of informal Japanese bar that serves alcoholic drinks and snacks, and is one of Japan’s unique cultural features.

It is typically a place to visit for many Japanese after a hard day of work, where they can enjoy various traditional Japanese alcoholic beverages and tasty meals.

Over the years, many izakayas have opened in HCM City to appeal to the locals’ fondness for Japanese food and culture, striving to offer the authentic experience.

Our group of friends visited the restaurant on a Sunday night, looking for a unique dining experience after having dined together at so many Japanese restaurants in the city over the years.

The first things that caught our eyes were charming, bright red paper lanterns hung above the entrance, commonly done by izakayas to mark themselves as bars.

Stepping inside, we were really surprised at the extremely lively and busy atmosphere; nearly every table was full of local and expat diners having a good time. Despite being full, staff were still quick to take our orders.

To get into the chatting groove while waiting for our meal, we had some of the homemade umeshu – a Japanese liquor made with plums.

The umeshu certainly left a great first impression for our time there, with its sweet and sour taste that lingers on the tongue. A member of our group, who usually cannot stand alcohol, even enjoyed the drink’s delightfully fruity flavour, paired with ice to dilute its strong taste to aid them in drinking more.

We enjoyed the wine while snacking on salted edamame, a common Japanese side dish to have with alcoholic, as well as a small plate of takoyaki (fried octopus balls). The lightly crispy outer layer and sweet, savoury takoyaki sauce were simply addicting. 

The izakaya's takoyaki is one of its many tasty snacks that you can have while waiting for your meal. Photo from Izakaya Ten's Facebook page

We ordered a VNĐ380,000 (US$16) set menu of edamame, octopus wasabi (raw diced octopus with spices), a plate of grilled skewers, deep-fried shishamo fish, pork salad, and omurice, (ketchup-flavoured fried rice coated with a plain omelet). We also had a VNĐ299,000 ($12.6) sashimi plate with six types of fish, and a stir-fried mushroom.

The salad was a great appetiser with its savoury and sour dressing and tender pork slices, while the sashimi and octopus were also fresh and rich in natural seafood flavour. The chicken and pork skewers were tender, well-seasoned, and great paired with wine.

The fried shishamo was especially noteworthy, as they were delightfully crispy on the outside, and each fish was filled with rich, delicious fish eggs, which paired very well with soy sauce. We did not even need to pick out any bones.

Last but not least, the omurice was a nice filling dish to round off our evening together. Its soft and creamy egg and flavourful tomato sauce combined to make the dish a real pleasure to eat.

Izakaya Ten’s wide variety of delicious Japanese dishes makes for a satisfying dining experience. VNS Photo Việt Dũng

​Next to Izakaya Ten is the entrance to HCM City’s Japan Town, a neighbourhood populated with similarly authentic Japanese restaurants, bars and cafés, and many cool places are available to hang out with friends after a nice meal just a couple of steps away.

Izakaya Ten also has another branch in 17/4 Lê Thánh Tôn Street, District 1.

While Izakaya Ten’s lively atmosphere is not for everyone, if you are looking for a hip place to nab a drink with friends while munching on tasty Japanese snacks, it is worth a visit. Be warned, it gets sufficiently busy weekends, you will likely want to book ahead first. VNS

Izakaya Ten

8a/8d1 Thái Văn Lung Street, Bến Nghé Ward, District 1, HCM City


5pm to 3am (1am on Sunday)

Comment: An authentic Japanese izakaya experience with a lively atmosphere, tasty drinks and snacks.

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