Welcome to the social distancing/isolation/delivery edition of Vietnam Foodie. In this month’s article, we’ll share with you what happened the five times food was brought to our door.
The assumption here is that we have all ordered delivery at some point during the last month. Maybe we’re wrong. But we’re pretty sure very few of us have cooked every meal since Ho Chi Minh City went quiet to fight the coronavirus. So we wanted to share our Saigon food delivery experience with you in this month’s edition of Vietnam Foodie.
Our format will be largely the same, other than the fact that we’ll rate five restaurants instead of just one. Also, delivery time and food packing now become important variables instead of ambience, presentation and service. Taste and texture, of course, remain the most important factors.
Our hope is, you will share your experiences with us. As you’ll see below, it was a mixed bag. Mostly very good, with a couple of hiccups.
Thursday, March 19: San Fu Lou
This is my go-to spot for dim sum on the Saigon food scene.
I wouldn’t say it’s the best dim sum I have ever had, because I have been to China’s Guangdong Province, the birthplace of this dish. (Don’t worry, this was last October, long before COVID-19 became an acronym as popular as FB and FBI.) But you get great value at San Fu Lou.
The wonton soup was my order on this night and it did not disappoint. The broth had its typical robust flavor, the dumplings were delicious, and the noodles were cooked just right.
As for the delivery side of things, the food was packed well and hot when it arrived. And I didn’t have to wait too long for it. Maybe 35 minutes or so, not bad during these times.
Vietnam Foodie rating: 4.5/5
Tuesday, March 24: Cafe Tartine Saigon
After Trump won the presidential election almost four years ago, I was upset. But I felt better after listening to one of my favorite comedians talk about it:
“If you liked Obama, did he call you at all in the last eight years? Did he ever put a sandwich on your table? You do that. You’re gonna keep doing that. You’re gonna be fine.”
So it was, on this day, that I decided to put a sandwich on my table. And it had to be with bread from Cafe Tartine Saigon.
Usually I go with the baguette but this time I changed it up. I got the ciabatta.
Between the bread were onions, salad, tomato and cheddar cheese. As usual, I was happy. No concerns about who my president is while I ate this sandwich.
In addition, delivery was prompt (less than 30 minutes) and my sandwich looked nice and neat when I unwrapped it.
Vietnam Foodie rating: 4.9/5
Friday, March 27: Sushi Go
Not sure if you would describe this as the Black Sheep of this experiment or simply regression to the mean, but this one was rough, compared to the first two.
Perhaps he was in a hurry because there were so many deliveries to make so it didn’t occur to him to make sure the bag was in a stable position. Or maybe he accidentally dropped it.
All I know is, the Now delivery driver darted out of my building like it was on fire after bringing me my food. When I opened the bag, I found a mess.
The various pieces of sushi were on top of each other. A couple of them had spilled into the bag, along with the wasabi. I was not pleased. At least Now was apologetic. Would have been nice if they offered me a voucher as well. But a phone call to say sorry is fine, I guess.
The sad thing is, the sushi here is pretty good. It was just hard to tell on this occasion.
Vietnam Foodie rating: 3.1/5
Sunday, April 12: Chickita
The last delivery experience prompted a bit of a hiatus. I just cooked all my food for a little over two weeks.
That’s why, when I finally ordered again, I went with something safe: Chickita. Not sure it’s possible to be disappointed in Chickita if you like chicken. It’s really good.
My picks on this night were the 1/4 grilled chicken breast, garlic bread and the crispy fries, all yummy. I’ve ordered from other places that overcook the chicken, making it tough and stringy. Chickita’s chicken is soft and moist, the way your bird meat should be.
The Red Dragon and Tropical sauces were good choices too.
In less than 30 minutes, all of this nicely-packed goodness was at my apartment, including a 20% discount the restaurant is offering during virus days. However, there was a glitch.
I ordered through Grab Food and tried to use some of my points to receive a discount. It didn’t work. Fortunately Grab helped me solve the problem and it worked the second time.
Vietnam Foodie rating: 4.6/5
Saturday, April 18: Mad House
My first time ever eating here was right after Tet. I was happy I finally did.
The duck leg was tasty, albeit too salty, but the beef tartare, which I ate on my second go-round, was very nice.
It’s hard to find good tartare anywhere so I went with that again while ordering from home.
Once again, it was great. The sauce they use is a blend of creamy and citrusy, an original touch you’ll enjoy. It also comes with a nice salad and small order of fries on the side. And that’s the starter version of it. I imagine the entree is quite a bit bigger.
The food arrived in 25 minutes and nothing was spilling out anywhere. No complaints whatsoever.
Vietnam Foodie rating: 4.9/5
Saigon Food Delivery Summary
The average rating during this time was 4.4/5. That’s good. It’s also a bit misleading. Remove the one outlier (3.1) and the average is 4.7. That’s really good.
In other words, a big congratulations to everyone in the food and beverage industry for working so hard during this time to keep everyone fed. Maybe everything isn’t always perfect, and this can cause some frustration, but there seems to be a commitment to quality.
We’re looking forward to more good food!