- Although it’s not usually the first cuisine that comes to mind when you think of the Big Apple, New York’sVietnamese food scene is booming.
- From summer rolls and banh mi to big bowls of pho and meats grilled in every way imaginable, there’s a Vietnamese dish out there for everyone.
- Here are nine Vietnameserestaurants to visit during your next trip to the Big Apple.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
When people talk about New York’s restaurant scene, they typically bring up its famous delis and world-renowned pizza shops (as they should, we’ve got a lot of good ones). However, there’s a less-ubiquitous, equally-delicious cuisine that’s currently making waves all over Gotham: Vietnamese food.
I’ve lived in New York for more than four years, and that means dealing with seasons – harsh ones. The hot, poorly air conditioned Junes and Julys spent sweating across Manhattan make summer rolls and grilled prawns all the more delicious, while piping hot bowls of pho and bun bo hue are perfect soups to keep you warm through the chilly winter months.
So next time you’re in the Big Apple, why not skip the line at Katz’s Delicatessen or Lucali’s in Brooklyn and sample some of the best Vietnamese food New York has to offer?
Here are nine of my favourite NYC-based Vietnamese restaurants that are definitely worth the trip.
East Village: Madame Vo & Madame Vo BBQ
Madame Vo serves up the homestyle Vietnamese food often found in California, Texas, and New Orleans, as all of the recipes were passed down by Vo and Ly’s refugee parents. Madame Vo BBQ, on the other hand, focuses on bo 7 mon, or Vietnamese beef seven ways. This is a traditional feast of beef prepared in seven courses, typically served at weddings and other special occasions.
Must try: Chao duoi bo (oxtail congee), $US14, Madame Vo BBQ (pictured above). Bun bo hue, $US18, Madame Vo.
Murray Hill: Sai Gon Dep
Walk into Sai Gon Dep in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighbourhood for a piping hot bowl of chicken pho. The restaurant’s specialty features chicken bone broth with shredded chicken, egg yolk, and rice noodles. All the poultry is brought in daily from BoBo Chickens in upstate New York.
Sai Gon Dep’s short menu also features delicious beets and mango summer rolls, grilled pork chop with pork ears, and shaking beef with hearty helpings of bone marrow.
Must try: Chicken pho, $US15 (pictured above).
East Village: Van Da
One of the newer Vietnamese restaurants in New York, Van Đa is located in Manhattan’s East Village. Led by Yen Ngo and chef Hannah Wong – formerly of Gramercy Tavern – the restaurant’s menu focuses on the three distinct regions of Vietnam: north, south, and central.
The name of the restaurant, which means “warrior woman,” is a nod to both the female chef and female owner. Visitors recommend the pork and shrimp tapioca dumplings.
Must try: Banh khot (turmeric griddle cakes), $US14.
Park Slope: Bricolage
Bricolage Vietnamese Gastropub is located in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighbourhood, where it serves classic Vietnamese fare with a Chinese flair. The restaurant features a small, dimly-lit dining room, a solid cocktail menu, and a cosy patio area.
Led by chef Lien Lin, the beef tripe and banh xeo- a Vietnamese crepe with Carolina white shrimp and pork – shine.
Must try: Banh xeo, $US14 (pictured above).
Lower East Side: An Choi
An Choi is located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighbourhood and offers a range of Houston-style Vietnamese dishes including pho, bun noodles, and banh mi. The hip restaurant is illuminated by red neon lights and also offers a unique cocktail menu.
An Choi was also home to the first-ever Vietnamese pop-up coffee shop in New York City,Café Phin. Café culture is huge in Vietnam, as the country is the world’s second-largest producer of coffee – an often-overlooked statistic within the coffee community. Although the pop-up won’t return to New York until October, the café’s founder, Sahra Nguyen, roasts coffee in Brooklyn that she sources from Da Lat in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and sells online.
Must try: Banh mi thit heo (5-Spice pork belly banh mi), $US11.
East Village: Hanoi House & Hanoi Soup Shop
Led by Chef Albert Nguyen, Hanoi House in Manhattan’s East Village neighbourhood is influenced by the northern style of Vietnamese cooking, which tends to be simpler and less spicy and focuses on lighter and cleaner flavours.
Hanoi Soup Shop, located in the building next door, is Hanoi House’s lunch counter, where the main attractions are the banh mi and pho – the latter incorporating filet mignon in place of the typical beef round eye.
Must try: Bo luc lac (shaking beef), $US32, Hanoi House.
Must try: Pho dac biet, $US21, Hanoi Soup Shop.
Lower East Side: Bep Ga
Bep Ga centres on Vietnamese street food, with the interior of the restaurant meant to look like a typical street vendor stall in Vietnam with its low plastic stools.
In Vietnam, street vendors typically only serve one specialty dish that they spend years perfecting. At Bep Ga, that specialty is chicken – dishes such as Vietnamese chicken and rice entrees as well as chicken pho are the items to try.
Must try: Pho ga kho (chicken noodle salad), $US10 (pictured above).
Greenwich Village and Chinatown: PhoBar
PhoBar is a Vietnamese restaurant and noodle counter that focuses on pho. Led by chef and owner Mike Khuu and co-owner Li Pien, PhoBar has two locations: one in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and the other in Manhattan’s Chinatown, where guests can make their own pho.
PhoBar’s menu is packed with a variety of contemporary Vietnamese-inspired dishes in a laid-back atmosphere. Pho offerings include spicy beef, oxtail, spicy short rib, and lobster.
Must try:Sauteed chilli chicken, $US5.95.
Greenpoint: Di An Di
Based in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighbourhood, Di An Di focuses on both Vietnamese American and new Vietnamese dishes. The owners of Di An Di travelled to Vietnam in search of authentic dishes to bring back to the US, such as the banh trang tron (rice paper salad) that’s currently popular in Saigon.
Their signature pho, which was inspired by their travels, features beef meatballs, soft beef cartilage, and egg yolk.
Must try: Pho bo dac biet (beef deluxe noodle soup), $US16.
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