While pho, spring rolls and banh mi are great, they aren’t all that Vietnam is good for. In fact, there is way more depth and complexity to their cuisine than just rice noodles and French baguettes.
Tucked away along a quiet street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, lies 33 De Tham Restaurant—a 3-storey seafood restaurant that simply wowed us. Specialising in zi char-style cooking, their menu boasts a wide range of delights ranging from the usual to the exotic, of which you can choose to have fried, steamed, barbecued and even as part of a hot pot.
Their range of seafood is phenomenal and not only is the quality topnotch, the price is unbelievably affordable as well—we ordered up a pretty wicked array of items and barely felt a pinch. A popular haunt among expatriates and tourists, here is why you need to dine at 33 De Tham Restaurant when in Ho Chi Minh City.
For a margin of the price that you would get in Singapore, you can enjoy a wide range of seafood offerings. Hankering for a shellfish of sorts, we kickstarted our dinner with their Grilled Scallops with Onion (60,000 VND).
Each beautiful scallop was topped with a generous amount of cooked green onion and roasted peanuts for added texture. Simply executed, we were allowed to appreciate the genuine freshness and flavour of the scallop.
Hands down, one of the best dishes we had that night was the Grilled Octopus (100,000 VND). Grilled hard and fast over charcoal, a nice smoky flavour developed around the octopus tentacles, providing a nice subtly charred and bitter element that complemented the sweet flesh really well.
Don’t be afraid to squeeze over some fresh lime and dab on a little salt and pepper to taste—this is what dreams are made of. Period.
In dire need of a carb option, the Fried Rice With Ten Items (35,000 VND) seemed the most appealing. Of course, we were sceptical at first about whether they really did prepare this rice dish with exactly ten items, but it tasted too good for us to bother anyway.
Tasting as good as those in any good Chinese restaurant and brimming with substantial wok hei, this simple dish of rice, eggs, meat and vegetables is truly worth it.
Costing literally less than S$6 for an entire fish, we could not resist ordering ourselves their Fried Red Tilapia (100,000 VND). Crispy from edge to edge while still maintaining a flaky, delicate centre, this satisfying fish dish was a joy to have.
The fish does not come seasoned or pre-marinated, but it is topped with green onions and peanuts as well and is served with a sweet chilli sauce on the side. Albeit impossible for us to finish, despite how delicious it was, we did our best.
33 De Tham Restaurant
Cau Ong Lanh Ward, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City 700000
Tel: +84 98 821 35 36
Daily: 11am – 1.30am
For more recommendations, read our Ho Chi Minh City’s guides to discover the best places in the city.