Vietnamese Cuisine NGON-stops

By Christina Kim - January 26, 2016


Think Vietnamese food and images of noodles, or rather, pho, in hot steaming soup slurped from bowls amidst the vapor steam while crouching on small stools by the roadside.
It is typical of the local eating scenes; just the way the locals would enjoy their simple meal.

However, there are more to the cuisine besides pho or those roadside eating.
It is a whole world of delectable fare specially prepared with care and passion to ensure that tastes of home lands on the roving taste buds and straight to the heart.

It is the very core of almost every cuisine around the world, which gave way to the birth of the adage that says "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"
Stripping the context of gender away from the saying, it literally speaks for everyone, generally.

In many aspects, Vietnamese cuisine is similar to Chinese cuisine; with the adoption of the diversity of styles in the preparation.

From steamed to deep frying, there is just something for every palate.

Tourists would be tempted to try the local cuisine; for the very sound of the varying styles is enough to send one's imagination racing and stomachs growling.

It would be a wild goose chase to navigate through the busy towns and cities, but the clever mind of the local entrepreneur solved the riddle.

A place which gathered a variety of Vietnamese food; from the familiar pho in assortments to homely dishes and even sweet-tasting desserts to complete the savory experience.
It is that kind of place which has everything under one roof; and is your typical one-stop for the local delicacies and flavors.

Only; it is not one of a kind, but there are two.

Ask any local and they would be able to point you in the direction of the Ngon restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City for that wholesome Vietnamese cuisine experience.

The only question would be, Which NGON?

Now, the story has it that the original idea was conceived by a culinary chef who rented the restaurant space located right across the Independence Palace.
He thought of consolidating the various cuisines under one roof and grew his idea into reality.
It was a brilliant idea which soon saw light when it quickly gained popularity and rose to fame.
The place soon landed on the tip of the tongues of most locals and even tourists.

Strategically located right across the Independence Palace (Reunification Palace), Quan An Ngon, or fondly known as Ngon 138 became an instant hit.


However, the story goes that the popularity of the place soon caught the attention of the land owner (the chef rented the space) who then decided to cease the rental and to take the entire business into his own.

The dispute led the chef to leave the premises and started his own business a few streets away; leading to the birth of the new Nha Hang Ngon, also known as Ngon 160.

The new Ngon settled in a decidedly more contemporary environment and does a refreshing take on the presentation of the various cuisines through its street food stall displays through the walkways.
Visitors are able to walk through the stalls and enjoy the view of their food prior to ordering, and even capture photos along the way, while still being presented with menus and proper table and chair seating.

It is still similar to the original idea taking place at Quan An Ngon, though with a slightly more modern take.

It is hard to decide which Ngon is better, though it would seem that the mastermind has taken the leap and settled at the new Nha Hang Ngon.


I have tried both; mind you, even I get confused trying to differentiate them both.
(I am not going to judge)

I will leave you to enjoy; judging from the photos of the food from both Ngons.
It is really Vietnamese Ngon-stops, at the brilliantly designed one-stop restaurants.

To pay homage to the original chef, the following are from Nha Hang Ngon (Ngon 160)
It was also the first Ngon I visited.

Set in a colonial style building with freshly painted walls, the place sort of symbolizes new beginnings in a stylish yet modest ambiance.








Steamed freshwater prawns 


It's so fresh that you can just eat it like this.


Or go all proper and put those greens to work; the Vietnamese way by wrapping them and drizzle the fish sauce (Ngoc Mam) on it.


Fish on skewers.
Frankly, I had no idea and was not quite expecting this.
It's just me, I'm just sad to see the cruel way they have been placed on the skewer.
(I think I'm going vegetarian someday)


Iced lotus seeds in sweet soup - this is rather popular.
(The Vietnamese love lotus seeds and sweet desserts in general)


Quan An Ngon (Ngon 138) - the Original location but run by the takeover owner
This is probably the more strategic location, considering that it is located right across a renowned tourist spot (Reunification/Independence Palace).

The place has a more rustic feel and that sense of nostalgia as one steps in, even if you have no knowledge of its history.
It is as though the place tells of the story in her very own way.

I know I could just feel it, when I walk into the place.
I could get confused when it comes to the names, but the place instantly tells me of the past.








Braised crabmeat in soup


Boiled prawns in claypot



Steamed seabass 


Grilled Squids


Prawns again, but in an epic style which is probably the highlight of my tasting expedition.


The famous Vietnamese flaming prawns native to the local cuisine
(You can even find this at the Ben Thanh market stalls)


If you want to ask me the same question, "Which Ngon?"

I can't answer you as I have had very different experiences at both restaurants, and they were both uniquely satisfying, as you can see from the photos.

It is a pity about the dispute, though it led to two options for tourists and locals alike to choose from to enjoy a taste of Vietnamese cuisine.

However, personally, I pray that they will someday come to peace and that like the flaming prawns, the fires would just cease eventually.

That is what I really think, when it comes to the Ngons.

This is not a story of the Battle of the Ngons, but rather, a presentation of the BEST of both Ngons.

Enjoy the Ngon-stops Vietnamese cuisines, all under one roof, in all their own uniquenesses.

Original Location for Ngon: Quan An Ngon
34 Phan Đình Phùng, Quán Thánh, Ba Dinh District, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening Hours: 7am-10pm

Phone:+84 4 3734 9777

Original Chef for Ngon: Nha Hang Ngon
160 Pasteur, Bến Nghé Quận 1 Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Opening Hours: 7am-10.30pm Phone:+84 8 3827 7131

*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
Please kindly ask for permission if you need to use any of my images.

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