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Village fare, City style

Located opposite the Independence Palace, one of HCMC”s top visitor attractions, Quan An Ngon 138 appeals easily to tourists and local people alike in its unique concept: presenting the diversity of Vietnamese cuisine from different regions in a village market style.

The restaurant is set in a large new building, which from its external yellow appearance is reminiscent of an old European castle; but inside its space is designed as an ancient Hue ruong house. The restaurant is also remarkable for its sophisticated wooden art carvings combining lacquer and inlay with mother-of-pearl featured on subtle details of balconies, stairs, tables and chairs and screens.

The decorations on the walls are beautiful collections of Bat Trang ceramic paintings showing Vietnamese folk landscapes such as temples, buffaloes and boys or banyan trees and river wharves. Green banana strees, large water with wooden tables and chairs, However, the upstairs is far more fun, although not it you aren”t familiar with sitting sross-legged on the floor for a length of time. It may be uncomfortable for those with bad knees, short skirts or tight jeans.

The food was quintessentially northern Vietnamese, ranging from various salads, Vietnamese soups, fish, beef, chicken, fried seasonal greens, hotpot and steamed white rice. The English translations of dishes rarely do them justice:  the tofu with salted egg” was actually a delightful dish of cubed, bettered tofu that was flash-fried for a crisp exterior (at VND 70,000/large dish for  two), Lotus rootstock salad with shrimp and meat is VND50,000, Fighting-cok sauteed with citronella and chili is VND95,000 and mountainous sticky rice, which is served with a sprinkle of crispy fried garlic is VND30,000. The restaurant alse boasts a good selection of rice wine to go with it.

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