A Taste of 'Khoi Thom'Chef Gabriel Boyer Investigates Saigons Hottest New Fusion Restaurant
I love Mexican food! Coriander, chili, lime, rice and…fish sauce? Que? Fish sauce in my tacos? Wait…it’s delicious! And it wasn’t an accident. At Khoi Thom - in the heart of district 3 - they have made it their mission to take the best of Mexican cuisine and combine it with Vietnamese flavours.
Now they don’t just throw fish sauce into any Mexican dish and call it Vietnamese fusion. Actually, most dishes are mainly Mexican, or mainly Vietnamese, with a hint from the other. The Beefsteak “khoi thom” was my favorite - a sizzling cast iron platter billows out the sweet smoky aroma of the meat. Sliced steak, peppers, and onions are served with home-made, warm flour tortillas, there's a bit of sour cream to cool the palette, and (here is the Vietnamese part) a small dish of salt and pepper, with a fresh squeezed kumquat. “Ay, dios mio!”
The next best thing were the BBQ fish skewers, which involved marinated strips of Sea Bass, skewered, over a piece of lemongrass. Washed down with any of the restaurant's tequila-based cocktails they are amazing.
Speaking of cocktails, I tried one called the “hacienda” which had some dulce de leche (Mexican caramel) inside. It was nicely balanced and tasted surprisingly good since I don’t usually go for sugary, girly drinks.
The one thing I would like to see on the menu is more of a blending of the two cuisines, to create some truly unique tastes. Khoi Thom offers plenty of outdoor seating, for relaxing outside on a cool night. Soak up the vibrant surroundings and the atmosphere which is filled with sultry Latin rhythms, pumped out at just the right volume. Service is friendly and attentive, the Latin vibes are just right, and the food is sure to please.
29 Ngo Thoi Nhiem St., Dist. 3, HCMC
WORDS: Gabriel Boyer - Chef at Chill