Sunday, January 07, 2007

French Food in Vietnam

I came here to eat Vietnamese food, but French food is very much part of the culinary landscape. So I eat French food too. Actually I enjoy French food. So far anyway, the French food I have had has been excellent, though not exactly the same same as what I find at home.

I wasn't around in the 1950's but I can only imagine it was somewhat like dinner at Le Mekong or Augustin's in Saigon/HCMC. At Le Mekong a guitar player and violinist entertain the happy diners. The menu is French with nothing nouvelle about it. Like the menu at the more bistro style Augustin's it is filled with pate, escargot, duck a l'orange and chocolate souffles for dessert. Everything is delicious with no surprises except perhaps for the bill which takes you back to the 1950's. Dinner for two with wine? Around $30 - $60 max.

I can't remember the last time I ate by candlelight, and the vaguely country French interiors of these restaurants are familiar yet out-of-the-ordinary in Saigon.

In Hoi An the Cargo Club serves American food, wonderful Vietnamese food including the local cao lau, a fat noodle soup with crunchy bits and clay hot pots filled with local fish. But the real draw? Pastries and desserts from the adjoining French bakery. Baguettes are less than 50 cents and truffle mousse cake is $1.20. Divine!

Le Mekong
57 Dong Du
Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

10 Nguyen Thiep
Location District 1,

Cargo Club and Hoi An Patisserie
107-109 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An
84 (510) 391 1227