HCMC Dining Guide

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pigging Out

This past weekend was my busiest in quite a while. On Friday afternoon I took part in the filming of a TV show for Discovery World, something I'll talk more about once it airs in a few months. That evening I went out to dinner with the film crew (a bunch of young Canadian guys) and we ended up singing karaoke into the wee hours of the night.

Saturday was largely devoted to recovering from that, though I did manage to get in a rock climbing session that evening (with a Canadian friend, as chance would have it).

Sunday I had to head out to District 2 to interview a couple of parents for the March cover story of AsiaLIFE, my first solo cover. Afterwards I banged out the 2,000 word story in two hours. I had also been waging an online guerrilla war against Joel Brinkley all weekend, leaving me in desperate need of a beer.

Luckily I had dinner plans with a group of friends (three of whom are Canadian...what the hell is with all these Canucks?!) at a place called Nam Bo. This enormous restaurant specializes in grilled meat, particularly whole suckling pigs that are cooked up right at the entrance. With the Tet holiday starting this week, families and businesses throughout the country are going out for big gatherings, and this place was heaving with hundreds of customers. It was a complete circus.

 We started off with beer, rau muong xao toi, fried spring rolls, seafood fried rice and calamari rings, all of which was excellent. Of course, the main attraction was the pig. We got two, and they are served whole on a plate along with steamed buns that you can stuff the meat into. In all honesty I was expecting the pork to be better - not that it wasn't good, but it wasn't amazing either, although the crispy skin is pretty awesome. Still, this was a really enjoyable meal, and I had never had suckling pig before. The prices aren't bad either, we had nine people and the bill came out to under 200,000 each.

Nam Bo is located at 283-285/C145 Cach Mang Tang 8, D10. Weirdly, there is another restaurant with the same address in the same alley, so if you end up at a place with a giant rooster out front, you're at the wrong one.

Then, this morning I got up at the crack of dawn to watch the Super Bowl with the largest group of Americans I've ever seen gathered here, which was great (except for the Ravens winning...). Anyway, as I mentioned the Tet holiday begins this week, and starting Wednesday I have a week off from work, so I'm heading to Malaysia with one of my roommates. I won't be posting again until I get back, so to all of my Vietnamese readers, chúc mừng năm mới!


  1. I visited this place in December after having read several recommendations. I too was disappointed since the food wasn`t as spectacular as expected.
    But this seems to be a common problem with such restaurants. The same with Quan An Ngon.

    The real good food is outside the city center. But you need time or know the right people to find them :)

    1. Completely agree about Quan An Ngon, I'm still surprised when friends who have lived here for a while decide to eat there. The food is alright, but it's a tourist circus thanks to Lonely Planet and there's much better stuff elsewhere. I do most of my eating around where I live in District 5, it's awesome.

  2. Do you have any recommendation for a good suckling pig place? (heo sua). Im soooo craving for that right about now.

    1. I don't sorry. Like I said this was the first time I had it.

  3. How much was the pig?

  4. Thanks for the price. Cheers