This place should be my nephew's all-time favorite, it seems he has very few places like this in his mind. Whenever he has a chance to dine out, he always suggests this eatery to everyone...it's not in Saigon, it's in Bien Hoa, another province, about 40km away.
As it's called "Shrimp hot pot 5 Ri" but I may say the best from here is not really hot pot. It's another one - shrimp surimi (shrimp paste on sugarcane - chạo tôm).
Shrimp hot pot - a lot of shrimps but some fresh, some - too dry for me!
Chạo tôm here is very tasty, but quite oily, so I need a lot of veggies (mostly lettuce with some herbs) to go with. I would prefer if the chef could offer the grilled one as an option in the menu.
Chạo tôm is originally from Central area, smaller in size, shrimp paste is wrapped around a stick of sugarcane, quickly steamed first then grilled, served with herbs, veggies, rice noodles and sweet, spicy fish sauce. Here at 5 Ri, chạo tôm, deep fried, served with another kind of rice noodles - bánh hỏi.
My bowl with a whole piece of chạo tôm, lettuce and bánh hỏi, where is dip sauce?
The next one is famous expensive sea snail, we call Perfume Snail (ốc Hương). Used to be one of my favorites before not now, because they are getting more and more expensive, a plate with a dozen of cooked snails costs around 300,000 VND (15 USD). The meat of this snail is soft, a bit strong and with a no mistaking flavor. Usually it's cooked with lemon grass, but what we have today is grilled snails.
A plate of dozen of Perfume snails (ốc Hương) can cost you nearly 15 USD or more.
We came to this place around 20:30, it's quite late for a large dinner, but my nephew's hunger seems bigger so he ordered three grilled big shrimps ( we were four but I have allergy to shrimp, esp. at night, so not for me!). To my nephew's disappointment, three shrimps looks much smaller than usual, so his hunger seems hungrier, he continued with deep fried fish cake order.
Our last dish for dinner was deep fried fish cake, I have to say fish cake here is good, strong (i.e a bit chewy, and it's considered good for this kind of dish), but the dipping sauce is quite strange, a combination of mayo sauce, tamarind flavor and chili! To be honest, I don't like it - the sauce.
Finally, our dinner came to end, it was actually a nice treat to one of my nephew's friends who I happen to know long in the past, he came to Saigon from my mother homeland, Quang Ngai, for business and nicely brought some gifts for me.