Monday, July 15, 2013

When the writer runs a restaurant...

It's like a trend everywhere else in the world when you got a fame, you will definitely try your luck again in another field. How many celebrities launch the coffee shops, the restaurants, the fashion brand but not everyone get really what they want: some flourish, some fail.
Exactly the same in Vietnam, we heard about the fancy places owned by some "diva" or "supermodel", or another spots - more traditional - by famous designer or novelist. I wonder - is it another way for them to make money or just to agree with what they said: "I open this place to hang out with my friends, I don't need to go out...". Hmm, it would be true or may be not!

I'm talking about "Đo Đo" eatery created by a popular novelist - Nguyễn Nhật Ánh, with his wife. To be honest I know very little about this writer, he seems well-known among the youth, some of his works has been adopted for TV series. It sounds great, but is it great his place? I got different comments: "it's so so", "mostly for those who love central flavours" (this place specialised in dishes from Central Vietnam), "the place is so tiny, not comfortable", "the dish is a bit salty"... I won't make any comments until I visited the place with friends few days ago.

We came here for late dinner. Not so crowded, actually my friends came first, I was a bit late and didn't made any order. Ok, here was what my friends ordered:

             Mỳ Quảng - the noodles are not yellow, the soup is good, overall - not bad! 

             Grilled pork with "bánh đập" - speciality from "Quảng areas". 

Bánh đập...ok how can I translate it into English? Slap cake?  This name would come from the sound when we "slap" the rolled cake over the crispy rice cracker. Anyway it's just a name, but what I want to say here - the dip sauce for this traditional cake. My mother was born in Quảng Ngãi, I was born here in Sàigòn, I have a cousin who used to bring this bánh đập to us, and as far as I remember the dip sauce is a kind of special strong fermented fish sauce, but at Đo Đo as it's served with grilled pork so the dip sauce is just a simple salty fish sauce. Hard to say it's good or not, one more thing: the rolled cake over the rice crispy cracker is too oily, I can feel even the oil's smell. That's I don't like.

            The rolled cake over the crispy rice cracker is too oily! 

              The grilled pork is bit cold, I would prefer it served hot. 

                Anyway the traditional dish from Central Vietnam looks yummy in this shot... 

              A basket of young banana, some herbs and special rice paper to wrap & roll with...

               a steamed mackerel...this one used to be my favourite if the fish is super fresh.  

I didn't have a chance to taste other specialities from Quảng areas (Central Vietnam) at Đo Đo. I'd love to come back here another time, I wouldn't say the dishes I tried that evening were very good, but it could be fair enough for those who love to experience the taste from my mother's homeland or I would refer to one of the comments on this place that I found nice: "the chef at Đo Đo probably wants to keep the authentic typically salty taste for Central people...". 

Quán Đo Đo: 10/14 Luong Huu Khanh - a small street bridged Nguyen Thi Minh Khai (not far from Tous Les Jours in Nguyen Thi Minh Khai) and Bui Thi Xuan, dist.1, HCMC 


  1. Lovely just what I was searching for.Thanks to the author for taking his time on this one.

  2. Across your post by searching the Vietnamese food. I really like your post. Living in the US almost 13 years. I miss Saigon & always searching anything relative to Vietnam like a long lost soul, even I'm going back almost every year. Going to be back for retiring there 5 yrs later..There is no way in the US having better street foods like Viet Nam & dirt cheap. I just don't like the pollution over there, but with a beautiful quite house will be a place to retreat. There is no place like home.

    One thing i haven't try Slap Cake before. That s odd!

    1. I'm very glad that you like my blog. It definitely encourages my blogging. There is many things more but I would love to reserve for later. Agreed with you - no place like home, so welcome home! Cheers


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