Taste of Saigon: The Best in Global Cuisine Part 1

Photo Courtesy of Yuzu Omakase Vietnam
Spread the love

In recent years, Vietnam has ascended to the pinnacle of global dining, celebrated as one of the finest food destinations on the planet. Culinary luminaries like Gordon Ramsay have publicly praised its vibrant flavors, while former President Barack Obama and the late great Anthony Bourdain savored bowls of Bún Chả and local Vietnamese beer in Hanoi on blue plastic chairs, making global headlines. In 2023, 103 establishments in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were recognized by the prestigious Michelin Guide, with four restaurants earning their coveted stars. 

Today, Ho Chi Minh City stands out as a cosmopolitan hub, offering a diverse tapestry of global cuisines to its international populace and visitors. As Saigon buzzes with culinary excitement, we turn to our girl on the ground – Tracie May-Wagner, Ho Chi Minh City resident, former Splash Magazines Editor, and renowned F&B influencer, to guide us through the best global dining experiences this bustling city has to offer.

Tracie May-Wagner, Photo Courtesy of Glamour Food & Beverage Photography


Mạ Quán

Photo Courtesy of Mạ Quán

For a truly authentic Vietnamese dining experience, arguably the best Vietnamese food in the city, Mạ Quán in District 1 stands as a pinnacle of the country’s culinary offerings. Their master chefs blend time-honored traditions with modern aesthetics, crafting dishes to showcase Vietnam’s rich gastronomic heritage. Savor their sensational Nem Công Chả Phụng, a royal delicacy served within the ancient Imperial Citadel of Huế, and their exquisite Bánh Xèo, a large fried rice flour Vietnamese folded pancake bursting with giant tiger prawns, succulent pork belly, mung bean, bean sprouts, spring onion, and mustard greens, served with tangy Nuoc Cham sauce for dipping. The elegant decor at Mạ Quán beautifully reflects Vietnam’s traditional design aesthetics, elevating the overall experience for their diners. With artful presentation, delicious flavor profiles, and warm and highly accommodating staff, each bite at Mạ Quán narrates a tale of Vietnam’s resilience through age-old techniques and exceptional gastronomy.

Mạ Quán: Floor 1, 151/02 Dong Khoi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City


Yuzu Omakase Vietnam

Photo Courtesy of Yuzu Omakaze

Yuzu Omakase emerged in Saigon from a strategic partnership between Thailand’s Yuzu Group and Vietnam’s leading F&B powerhouse, HAN Group. Celebrated celebrity chef Tommy Tran, head of F&B for HAN Group, secured the exclusive rights in Vietnam to several of their imported ingredients, making Yuku the only location in the country to offer select offerings. Yuzu Omakase delivers a masterful contemporary Omakase experience, blending modern sophistication with culinary artistry. The menu features exquisite seasonal seafood from Japan’s premier fish markets, including the freshest Uni from Hokkaido and prized tuna. French truffles are expertly shaved tableside, and the selection includes Albino, Royale Oscietre, and Beluga Royale caviars. Yuzu Omakase offers three Omakase menu options, inviting guests on an extraordinary three-hour gastronomic journey. With a chic and modern facade, Yuzu has become a haven for Saigon’s elite, who convene to savor the essence of contemporary Japanese cuisine. Departing from tradition, Yuzu Omakase presents sosaku-style menus, creatively reinterpreting classic dishes with bold, innovative flavors, making it the ultimate destination for a remarkable and unique culinary adventure.

Yuzu Omakaze Vietnam: 34 Thủ Khoa Huân, phường Bến Thành, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City,



Photo Courtesy of Bambino

With the sophisticated allure of a trendy Soho supper club in New York City, Saigon’s super chic elite descend nightly upon Bambino to see, and BE seen. Celebrated for its ultra-hip vibes and superb Italian cuisine, this venue’s standout dishes include the house-baked Semolina Focaccia, accompanied by Extra Virgin Olive Oil and creamy Whipped Ricotta, alongside the exquisite whole Burrata set atop a bed of juicy Cherry Tomato Agrodolce. The Spaghetti alle Vongole is a total showstopper, matched by the delectable Whole Suckling Pig Porchetta, served with marinated peppers, apple mustard, and preserved mustard greens. To cap off the dining experience, guests stay late night to groove to a live DJ on the decks while sipping innovative cocktails masterfully prepared by Bambino’s team of mixologists.

Bambino: 31 Ton That Thiep, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City


Lüne Restaurant & Bar

Photo Courtesy of Lüne

Lyon native Adrien Guenzi crafted his debut restaurant and bar to be a sanctuary akin to home, where guests can unwind with finely crafted cocktails and exquisite wines while indulging in his deep-rooted passion for French cuisine. Despite its “Fine Dining” label, this relaxed and unpretentious spot encourages diners to come as they are, offering creatively inspired dishes without the usual formality. Named after the French word for ‘moon,’ which symbolizes intuition and well-being, Lüne serves as a playground of culinary creativity. Must tries include their French Escargot with red wine sauce, mushroom puree, bacon and parsley and their signature dish, Duck and Foie Gras Pithivier. Be sure and follow their Facebook page for the latest news, as Chef Adrien consistently hosts curated culinary nights including special guest Chef collaborations, Seafood Night and a recurring AYCE Steak Night on Thursdays.

Lüne Restaurant & Bar – 17/14 Lê Thánh Tôn, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City



Photo Courtesy of Lesung

Lesung, creation of acclaimed celebrity chefs Eden Daus and Tommy Trần, delivers truly authentic Malaysian flavors to District 3. Known for their previous success at S79 Skyline Dining, the duo designed Lesung to feel like home, offering a relaxed dining atmosphere and outstanding cuisine. Highlights include the Rendang Short Rib, so tender it falls off the bone, smothered in a rich coconut-based gravy. On Fridays, Chef Eden showcases a once-per-week special – a heaping bowl of Peranakan Laksa, an iconic traditional Malaysian dish, featuring a giant river prawn swimming in a broth of spicy sambal, coconut milk, tamarind juice, garlic, galangal, and lemongrass, along with chicken, vegetables, and noodles. A must visit in Ho Chi Minh City, Lesung masterfully presents Malaysia’s diverse culinary heritage, and provides an exceptional dining experience.

Lesung: 72/1 Tran Quoc Toan, Ward 8, District 3 Ho Chi Minh City

Stay tuned for Tracie’s part 2 of the series! Bon appétit!!


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.