For me, Vietnamese food (or South-eastern Asian food) is ranking the 3rd of my food loving list (Chinese – sometimes Indian & sometimes Intalian – Vietnamese). Three years ago I visited Vietnam for the first time, and I was amazed by how people can use fresh (really fresh and raw leaves that I don’t even know how to eat) ingredients to create beautiful and flavorful cuisine. Before this trip, I bought a book to learn more about the origin and characteristics of SE Asian food (I felt that I should have known about it before I came to USA, as someone coming from Asia).
Mixed in with residential buildings, Cuc Gach Quan is one of the most beautifully decorated restaurants in Saigon. It became famous overnight after a visit by Brad Peter and Angelina Julie in 2010. Located on a short street in the Tan Dinh Ward of District 1 in a redesigned French colonial mansion, complete with antique wooden furniture and floating staircase, the restaurant prides itself on delivering traditional, country-style food free of pesticides and preservatives. My favorite here is the mango juice with mint, it is extremely refreshing that helped me overcome the jet-lag. I also love the fact that the chef uses morning glory (a vegetable) as the straw, which adds another level of fun to it!