Entertainment in Vietnam, travel tours: Hotpot hotspots in vietnam travel

Hotpot hotspots in vietnam travel

Want to experience the quintessential dining style of Saigon? Pull up a chair and treat yourself to a delicious, bubbling serving of hotpot to taste a bit of the culture of the vibrant southern hub.                                                    Hotpot has long been a gastronomic favorite of Vietnam and an essential part of Saigonese cuisine. Although the date of its introduction remains unknown, the term “tap pi lu,” which means all sorts of ingredients combined in a pot of broth, was listed on menus in popular restaurants in the 1960s.  
Originating from the Mekong Delta region, the dish offers a variety of flavors featuring different kinds of noodles, vegetables and meats. A sumptuous hotpot produces pleasant smells, flavorful broths, and savory offerings of usual favorites like eel, goat, fish, and beef.
Ho Chi Minh City features a number of restaurants that serve up this yummy dish. These no-frills, plastic stool joints are highly popular with groups of Vietnamese enjoying a relaxing meal after work.
However, over the past few years, locals have witnessed a boom in luxury air-conditioned hotpot restaurants.
With chains sprinkled throughout the downtown area, Ashima hotpot restaurant is a name to remember for its delicious mushroom-based hotpots. Guests expecting a boring one-sided affair will quickly be surprised by a menu that introduces the eclectic selections of tender porcine, portobello, shiitake, and “cow spunk!” Diners choose a soup base – the basic stock goes for VND110,000 – and three or four varieties of mushrooms, veggies and meat for a meal that costs between VND250,000 to VND350,000 for a party of four.
Ashima’s hotpot cookers are set low enough on the tables so diners won’t emerge from their meals well-broiled and the friendly staff is quick to serve with the ladle - not a plus, if one doesn’t enjoy others hovering over one’s plate, but greatly convenient if the intricacies of traditional hotpot are a bear to overcome.
More upscale than other hotpot competitors, Chen specializes in Chinese hotpot, but barbeque and sushi dishes are also featured on the extensive menu. Each table is furnished with hotpot stoves and the food is good value and extremely tasty at prices of around VND75,000 per head.
Located at 64 Pham Ngoc Thach Street in District 3, Soa Soa restaurant brings together the unique flavors of hotpot steeped in a cozy ambience. Upon stepping inside, one will be impressed by the interior design with yellow-colored lights, plants lining the restaurant’s walls, and glass coverings that make the space cool and spacious.
The service provided is excellent, with enough English-speaking staff together to translate the Vietnamese menu and show uninitiated diners the ropes of handling the unfamiliar tools involved with the hotpot dish. Price-wise, large pots big enough to feed at least three are priced starting from VND70,000 and are accompanied by enigmatic dipping sauces.
The addition of beef – there is an option between local or imported Australian beef, the former being cheaper and just as good – adds VND17,000 to the bill, a small price to pay for all the fun of dipping pieces into the broth and fishing it out when cooked.
Fresh egg noodles to go along with the hearty meat and vegetable offerings cost VND8,000, rounding out the comprehensive meal. Soa Soa specializes in allowing customers to design each hotpot dish by selecting their own ingredients.
If one likes to accompany the steaming hot broth with a liquid delicate to the palate, consider ordering the traditional sake wine offered at the restaurant. In addition to hotpot, Soa Soa also serves up some exquisite delicacies such as Soa Soa baked goat, Soa Soa spring rolls, Sichuan duck tongue, and Chinese-style fried rice and noodles.
In contrast, Coca Suki, located at 18-20 Mac Thi Buoi Street, offers the best Thai-style hotpots along with Chinese-style versions. The restaurant provides Thai and Chinese a la cart dishes, but is best known for a traditional hotpot served with a special sauce called “Coca Suki,” prepared from secret ingredients from Thailand.
The restaurant has three floors with separate sections to cater to every customer. Diners who embrace the noisy atmosphere often found in a big restaurant can enjoy eating in a large section on the ground floor. Those preferring a quieter space to talk with friends and families can request semi-private tables. Businessmen or any individuals requiring a completely private dining area for lunch may book one of the four VIP rooms.
Saigon, present-day Ho Chi Minh City, was once referred to as a “cultural hotpot” for its diversity of people, sights, sounds and smells. Whether one wants to enjoy the street-style flavor of reclining in plastic kindergarten stools and kicking back a cold one with the fellows, or indulge in the luxuries of air-conditioned dining among friends, do not miss out savoring the hotpot, where all different ingredients – like cultures – are chopped up, thrown together, and served one steaming bowl at a time.
SAVORY LOCATIONS
Soa Soa
: 64 Pham Ngoc Thach St., Dist. 3
Coca Suki: 18-20 Mac Thi Buoi St., Dist. 1
Ashima: 35A Nguyen Dinh Chieu St., Dist. 1
11 Me Linh Square, Dist. 1
11 Tu Xuong St., Dist. 3
Hotpot accompanied by various kinds of raw meat and beef is one of the most popular varieties.
Reported by Kim TNien

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