Sunday, 08/04/2018 10:44

Southern family-style meals at inviting prices in Saigon

Cosy: May Bon Phuong restaurant. Photos Thanh Chuong
Viet Nam News

by My Duyen

Despite its obscure location in a quiet alley in HCM City’s District 3, May Bon Phuong restaurant has developed a wide reputation for finely prepared traditional dishes at reasonable prices.

The restaurant, covering the ground floor and grounds of an old Saigonese-style villa in the Vuon Chuoi residential area, has simple wooden tables and chairs, creating a home-like, friendly atmosphere.

Though the restaurant focuses on southern family meals, diners can also find delectable dishes with a modern twist.

On the main menu, goi ca May Bon Phuong, or cobia fish filet salad, and ca trung mam me, deep-fried shishamo fish served with tamarind sweet-sour sauce, are two of the outstanding starters, while the main dishes include bo cuon pho mai, grilled beef rolled with cheese; ga nuong ngu vi, grilled five-spicy flavoured chicken; and ga nau ruou chat, chicken braised with white wine.

Bo xao hanh tay ot chuong, beef sauteed with green pepper and onion, and ca chem chien gion, deep-fried garoupa filet, are also on offer.

The cobia fish filet salad (at VND150,000, enough for two or three) was our first choice, while my two kids ordered sup cua crabmeat soup with egg yolk (VND23,000 for a small bowl) and grilled beef rolled with cheese (VND90,000).

A specialty of the restaurant, the cobia fish salad is the most-ordered dish on the menu.

“The fish salad has made our May Bon Phuong restaurant brand,” said a member of the family who owns the restaurant.  

The fish filet in sweet-sour lime juice was mixed with green onion, ginger and red pepper slices, while the homemade wasabi sauce added more pungency to the dish.

We loved our salads and my kids were especially thrilled with their choices. The soup, my daughter declared, was “tasty and aromatic”.

After tasting his first piece of beef grilled with cheese, my son was equally enthusiastic and begged to order another serving.

Next were tom rang me or river prawns sauteed with sweet-sour tamarind sauce (VND90,000), another standout dish. The secret of the dish is its tamarind sauce, which has a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavours.

Though I thought the tamarind sauce was outstanding, my children preferred only the prawns as they don’t like sour flavours.

To satisfy my children’s appetite, I ordered tom chien lan bot or deep-fried prawns coated with a light tapioca, May Bon Phuong-style (VND90,000). I tried the dish too.

The crispy exterior crackled at the slightest touch of my teeth, while the juicy prawn melted in my mouth. This fine delicacy should not be missed.

We were nearly full after the deep-fried prawns but still wanted more.

As recommended, we sampled luoi heo ham xot pate, pork tongue braised with pork pate (VND110,000), served hot with a baguette.

Apart from its eye-catching colour, the finely cooked tongue meat was tender, juicy and aromatic. The dish has been a bestseller of the restaurant for over 30 years.   

Besides our choices, there were a variety of sumptuous and stunning food items on the list at very inviting prices.

Among the must-tries include hotpots (from VND160,000) including Thai-style and shrimp hotpots, seafood fried rice (from VND30,000), canh/dui ga chien muoi ot, fried chicken wings/legs with chilli and salt, and grilled five-spicy flavoured chicken (from VND90,000).        

After our fourth dish, we were far too full to order more.

So we postponed some tempting options for our next visit which, I’m sure, will come soon!        


May Bon Phuong Restaurant    

Address: 132/6 Vuon Chuoi Street, District 3

Phone: (028) 38334743
Hours: 10:30am-10pm

Comment: authentic southern family recipes, cosy ambience and inviting prices (VND45,000net – VND180,000net).  


Rich: Bo cuon pho mai (grilled beef rolled with cheese) is one of the standout dishes at the restaurant.
Favourite: Luoi heo ham xot pate or pork tongue braised with pork pate has been a bestseller at the restaurant for more than 30 years.
Crispy: Tom rang me (prawns sauteed with sweet-sour tamarind sauce) are a must try.
Aromatic: Sup cua (crabmeat soup with egg yolk) is a favourite among children and the elderly.
Famous: Goi ca May Bon Phuong cobia fish filet salad is a specialty of May Bon Phuong Restaurant.

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