Found Hoa Tuc from the ever-reliable Trip Advisor. Strange that when I was asking my Vietnamese colleague for feedback on this place, she didn’t know about Hoa Tuc at all. I guess Hoa Tuc is popular among tourists and foreigners but not with the locals.
Hoa Tuc shares a courtyard at 74 Hai Ba Trung St. in District 1 with several restaurants like Annz, The Refinery, Jaspas, and Vasco’s.
To make sure that we get a table, I sent them an email on reservation a few days before Father’s Day. They answered on the same day and when we went there, we had a perfectly good, quiet spot at the corner with a nice view of the whole restaurant. We weren’t able to use the baby-chair already set-up because my son fell asleep. A waiter gave us a folded table linen to use as pillow. That was nice of them!
The purple color theme is inviting and makes you want to sit for hours by the courtyard. Hoa Tuc literally means “Opium Poppy” and this theme was executed from the menu, to the seat cover designs, and to the paintings on the walls.
We ordered an appetizer and 3 main courses. Our appetizer was the banh khot or the mini rice and coconut milk pancakes with shrimps and spring onions. For the main course, we ordered:
- pan fried tofu with lemongrass chili and shallots
- marinated bbq red snapper with sauteed green beans carrots and water chestnuts
- bun thit nuong cha gio (forgot the English translation!)
Terrific food! The banh khot was creamy — creamier than the 2 banh khot I tried for the past 2 days! The tofu was heavy though and we could have done away with another main dish.
Maybe next time we’ll just do their Weekend Brunch special at 235,000 VND per person which includes a fresh fruit juice, 7 dishes, dessertS (yup many desserts!), and your choice of tea or Vietnamese coffee. Brunch happens from 11 am to 4 pm.
And if you want in on the secret on how they create culinary masterpieces, why not join their Saigon Cooking Class? Hoa Tuc offers a half day gourmet tour and a hands on cooking class.