Vietnamese – the food connoisseur I'm on the mission to explore the wonderful food out there Mon, 13 Apr 2020 13:00:32 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Vietnamese – the food connoisseur 32 32 67390964 Banh Mi Town – Good local find Fitzrovia Tue, 23 Oct 2018 14:42:36 +0000 Banh Mi Town

There are only a handful of Vietnamese places within the Fitzrovia area, and Banh Mi Town is one of the better ones. Located in the quieter streets of on Hanson Street next to The Ship pub. A local tip you can BYOF into The Ship just order a drink from the pub.


Banh Mi Town deals

There are different deals on certain days at Banh Mi Town, Fridays Banh Mi’s are a fiver. Wednesday a rice box is £5. The 2-menu deal sets get you two course and a drink for £10. Banh Mi is great here, the bread is baked to the traditional Vietnamese style baguette. The 10-inch baguette is crisp on the outside, light and fluffy texture inside. The grilled pork was cooked on order, one side of the bread smothered in pate, mayonnaise, doused in soy sauce and packed with pickled vegetables.

Banh Mi Town Pho

Rare beef pho is fragrant, warm and comforting. It is balanced and have plenty of fresh bean sprouts, basil, mint and thinly slice onions. The rare beef cooked too fast in the broth, but the soft white flat noodles made up for it.

Banh Mi Town chicken curry rice

Satay chicken rice is also tasty, grilled until soft and charred on the outside. A smooth creamy satay sauce is poured on top of the meat. It is also accompanied by rice and vegetables. Dining in cost an additional 50p, given a table number on a stick you choose any spot you please.


29 Hanson Street, Fitzrovia, London W1W 6TS

Banh Mi Town Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bang Bang Canteen – Vietnamese Street Food Mon, 17 Apr 2017 20:23:12 +0000 Ah, since the beginning of the year with a temporary office move. We made it to Warren Street, and thankfully there’s a lot more is on offer in Fitzrovia.

I always crave a good warm bowl of Pho in the winter months. I stumbled on Bang Bang Canteen during one of my walks exploring the new area.


Bang Bang Canteen is inspired by film noir; if you go to their site they have a mini video playing. Think Kill Bill, Sin City comic style with a story to tell. The canteen was half full when I arrived. I managed to get some seats out the back, passing low-seated tables and the kitchen, washing area.

Seated on high stools, I was given a menu. I wasn’t too hungry so ordered some cha cio (spring rolls) £4.50 and pho bo tai £9.50.


Cha cio arrived in a falcon enamelware serving tray. Two pieces of springs cut into halves with a dipping sauce and some fermented vegetables. It’s enjoyed in two stages, first, the outer crunchy skin, second biting into a melody of minced pork, carrots, fungus mushrooms, and glass noodles.

Next up, my favourite pho! Can this firm staple be up to my standards? Unfortunately for me the soup that makes up a great pho, just seemed to be watered down. This is supposed to be cooked for 18 hours, it smelt fragrant but lacked depth. The rare beef made up for it, nice thick slices and chewy.

Service was decent enough, only long wait to track down someone so I go get the bill to pay. Bang Bang canteen is a nice atmosphere, I did really enjoy their spring rolls. I have been back for their take-out banh mi, and I give that high rating, the bread is light and crispy and the pork meat is so full of flavoured and well worth £5.

Bang Bang Canteen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Banh Mi Bay Review Canon Street – Quick stops for Vietnamese Sun, 13 Nov 2016 11:40:23 +0000 banh-mi-bay-canon-street

It was a long night and I happened to attend a bloggers/press event nearby. I was hungry and my blogger friends were also the same. We decided to grab some to eat; lok yee mentioned Banh Mi Bay. It was 8-9 PM and it was difficult to think of a place that was still opened. We both had the Holborn branch in mind but with Vivian leading us with her maps we ended up at the St Pauls branch.


Banh Mi Bay currently has 2 other branches, the one in Holborn and Fitzrovia. The St. Pauls one is along the long stretch of Canon Street. It has nice homely vibes inside, wooden tables and chairs white against dark browns.


The menu is simple with the usual staples, spring rolls, Pho, vermicelli noodle salad, steam rice plates. At lunchtime you can get Banh Mi’s, which I love.


As we were all getting a main each, we decided to share some cha gio. I love these types of spring rolls over the Chinese egg ones. It’s the deep fried, golden brown extra crispy exterior with minced up shrimp, pork dipped in nuoc mam sauce that does it.



I needed something to warm me up and turned to my usual favourite rare beef noodle soup. I usually judge the stock and can tell if it’s really good. The broth was decent, nice and sweet but lack depth and bones with other spices I like from other places. The beef used seem to go to stiff in the broth; the noodles were cooked with a nice bite. Although my pho noodle soup seem to not live up to my expectations, the Bay special dishes Lok Yee had look seriously delicious.

vermicelli-bun-noodle-salad-lemon-grass-chicken-banh-mi-bay bay-special-banh-mi-bay

I think Banh Mi Bay is a good place for a quick Vietnamese fixes, the Banh Mi’s are seriously good. Next time I try the rice dishes.
33 Cannon Street, London, EC4M 5SB

Tel: 020 7489 7060

{google_map}33 Cannon Street, London, EC4M 5SB{/google_map}

Banh Mi Bay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Dumpling Shack School Yard, Cà Phê VN Browadway Market Sat, 13 Aug 2016 08:50:47 +0000 dumpling_shack_london

It’s been the talk of the town for a while. I’ve been meaning to pay a visit to Dumpling shack at School Yard near Broadway market. Each time I’ve tried John Li sold out or wasn’t around. John is a mutual friend of mine, and at social gatherings, I overheard his passion over the years to start a street food stall. He never quite knew what but he eventually got there with dumplings.

[blockquote author=”” pull=”normal”]Soup bursting out as soon as you bite them.[/blockquote]

yeast yeast_hackney

John and his team roll out dumpling skins and fold them cooked to order. A spoon of minced meat and a spoon of gelatine soup is added to dumpling skin then folded up neatly ready to be cooked. Everything is handmade the dumpling skins, fillings and jelly soup.

IMG_8144 IMG_8140 IMG_8142 dumpling_shack_rolling

It’s then pan fried then steamed until it’s been cooked. You are then handed a plate of four dumplings and you can add sauce and chilli to your liking. I love dunking mine in Chekiang black vinegar. The traditional stuff you have for xia long bao.

dumpling_shack_london IMG_8145 dumpling_shack_stall

Dumpling Shacks ones are slightly different xia long bao, shengjianbao is less known and harder to find in London.


Results? Soup bursting out as soon as you bite them. Although it’s a shame I love mine more piping hot. The soup is a tad too sweet for my liking. Meat content is decent and flavoured. The bottom has a crispy fried base, the portion of 4 does seem a little steep for £7.50 but they are quite big. Although I found the soup inside too sweet and skin too thick, the dumplings is still worth a try. Dumpling shack is worth a visit if your thirsty order some freshly made soya milk.

bao_bar IMG_8136 IMG_8139

In Broadway market one of my favourite stalls is a Cà Phê VN, it’s a Saigon street style vendor serving one of London’s best Vietnamese coffees. They source and grow their own coffee directly from Vietnam. Owner Rob Atthill is super friendly and got to know him chatting via Twitter over the years. The little cart sells banh mi, different styles of Vietnamese coffees and teas and street food. I love ordering one of their Vietnamese iced coffees and laying on the deck chairs listening to live music that’s usually around the stall and people watching. Their coffee is dark and strong, lovely roasted aromas, I urge you to buy the packets to take home along with a drip coffee filter for £5.

caphe_vn_broadway_market Cà Phê VN






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Viet Union – UK’s first Pho Challenge Tue, 09 Feb 2016 13:17:29 +0000 Viet Union

There’s a lot of food challenges been created all around the world every minute. With the popularity of Man V. My good friend Hungry Ronin asked me to come along to watch him take on the UK’s first Pho challenge at Viet Union. 23rd of January was the grand launch for the Pho challenge.


Viet Union has only been around for a few months, located in the South of London near Southwark. Each Pholympian has to be seated downstairs by the restaurant so they can be watched within the hour of the challenge.

You have one hour to tackle 2.25kg a whopping

6 baked spring rolls plus the salad
1500ml beef pho soup
250g of pho noodles
100g of beef
8 king prawns



If you lose then you have to fork out £25 of the meal value. Whilst I waited for my friend’s challenge to be prepared. I ordered my own food, Viet Union has many of the usual Vietnamese staples, Pho, Banh mi, curries, the difference they try to make is making the food healthier. Prawn crackers, spring rolls are baked instead of being fried. Going for the pho, there are two sizes regular (£8) or large (£9), add beef meatballs for a couple of pounds extra. I Added the meat baked spring rolls £4.50.

beef_pho rare_beef_pho spring_rolls

Large is the normal bowl size you get in most restaurants, soup broth has great umami flavour. Rare beef slices are lean, beef meatballs on the other hand are slightly too rubbery. Baked spring rolls were too dry for my liking, although tasting healthier.




Back to my friend and his Pho Challenge. His tactics was to demolish all the solids first, all of the meats, spring rolls, salad, noodles downing the 1500ml soup last year. During the time he even paused to sample summer rolls, making it a easy win with 41:54 secs on the clock.

IMG_0838-3 IMG_0840


Union Viet Cafe & Restaurant

120 Union Street




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Viet Grill – There’s more to Pho Tue, 01 Sep 2015 20:56:20 +0000 Viet Grill

For the very best in Vietnamese restaurants, my vote goes to Cay Tre for those heart-warming bowls of Pho that takes 18 hours to make the broth. The unusual Vietnamese super crunchy spring rolls accompanied with the dipping sauce. I’ve been most of the Vietnamese Kitchen restaurants except for Viet Grill.


Arriving in the Pho mile of Hoxton, on a Sunday evening Viet Grill wasn’t exceptionally busy. The restaurant sports a part French colonial and sophisticated orient look of bamboo art gracing the walls, bird cages hanging off the ceilings, with an open bar serving Vietnamese flavours inspired cocktails drinks.

Viet Grill Bar

IMG_0356 IMG_0351

A must have at any Vietnamese restaurant is the Banh xeo, a wafer thin pancake, folded in half crammed with prawns, chicken, and mixed herbs. It’s engineered to eat in one-bit mouthful with the lettuce provided.

banh xeo

If I have realised the seafood grill platter included soft shell crab, I wouldn’t have ordered a dish on it’s own. Anyways the seafood platter is all the seafood dishes from the chilli salt & pepper section, squid, soft shell crab, and Ecuador prawns. Insanely addicted simple ingredients dusted in batter deep fried until you have the perfect crunch, and seasoned with chilli salt and pepper with semi cooked onion slices, spring onions and chilli’s.

Soft Shell crab
Seafood platter

The next dish is a popular Southern Asia one, green papaya salad, shredded up papaya, carrots, seared cure beef, Thai basil, drenched with nuoc cham vinaigrette and topped with mashed peanuts. Four crackers are placed in each corner of the dish, and the salad makes a refreshing start before the heavier courses.

Green Papaya Salad IMG_0375 IMG_0374 IMG_0353

Classic Beef pho needs no introduction, a dish I repeatedly order from all the other branches from the Vietnamese Kitchen. The taste is always consistent no matter where I go. Nailing that unique 18-hour cooked on the stove deep flavourful broth.

Classic beef pho
Classic beef pho

IMG_0383 IMG_0385

The last main we tried is a popular noodle dish, Mi Quang, turmeric coated rice noodles, soft and tender sautéed monkfish fillets, topped with sesame crackers and the usual coriander and herbs.

mi quang IMG_0394 IMG_0352

Finally to end the meal, we ordered the lucky dip ice creams. Developed and made with Gelupo you’re onto a winner. You never know what flavour you end up with; a mix of three is scoop in a tall glass. Lucky for us, it was three flavours I love, sesame, salted caramel and green tea. Ice cream is incredibly smooth, and powerfully flavoured.

lucky dip IMG_0406

Overall Viet Grill ticks the right boxes for a great Vietnamese food, punchy flavours, impeccable ingredients, with and relax causal dining flair. Viet Grill offers more than pho, the menu is an extension to Cay Tre dishes.

Tel: +44 20 7739 6686

Click to add a blog post for Viet Grill on Zomato

Click to add a blog post for Viet Grill on Zomato

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Cafe Coco – One to watch Wed, 25 Mar 2015 09:32:25 +0000 cafe_coco

Cafe Coco is one of those places that only opens in the evenings after 5pm with the exception of Sunday. Located in Mare Street, in the heart of biggest community it has a lot of competition in the area. As you know, Mare Street is one big stretch of a long road, Cafe Coco is near the end where St Joseph Hospice. A failed attempt to go eat Korean for the night we ended up at Cafe Coco. With only another diner eating, getting a table was easy. Café Coco menu is filled with a mix of Vietnamese and other Asian dishes such as Chinese and Japanese.

banh_xeo crispy_hakf_moon_pancake

I had a long wait until my friends arrived, so went on to order the crispy half-moon pancake. A massive portion of greens, and pancake arrived folded in half. Inside stuffed with bean sprouts, chicken chunks and prawns. This Banh Xeo had to be one of the best I’ve tried in London. Taking my time eating my starter the pancake stayed crispy, prawns and meat were well flavoured and juicy.


Milk bubble tea is popular at any Asian restaurant, tall glasses blended with ice, there wasn’t enough flavour.


Once my friends arrived, we went right in and ordered a massive feast between us. My Vietnamese friend particular loved the Banh Mi, as it reminded her of the exact taste and airy light bread texture from her holiday in Vietnam.


Roast duck at Cafe Coco, is different to Cantonese style, Com Bit comes with a wet style thick sauce and topped with spring green onions.


I couldn’t steer away from my favourite bun thit nuong cha nem, the char grilled meat, still had juices dripping, slicked with lemongrass and other herbs used to be marinated the meat. Meat nice and firm and chewy, it was as good as Café Sen sadly now closed. The Cha Nem, Vietnamese spring rolled was lovely and crunchy with plenty of minced pork, ear wood mushrooms. Café Coco was absolutely delicious  one to watch.


{google_map}77 Mare St London UK E8 4RG{/google_map}

Cafe Coco on Urbanspoon

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Char Grilled belly pork – Bun Thit Nuong Recipe Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:32:58 +0000 Bun Thit Nuong Bun Thit Nuong Bun Thit Nuong

imperial BBQ pork
imperial BBQ pork
BBQ pork recipe
BBQ pork recipe
Char Grilled belly pork


Char Grilled belly pork recipe

Char Grilled belly pork – Bun Thit Nuong Recipe

Recipe Type: Vietnamese
Author: Lebinh
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
This is an very easy to follow a recipe for my version of the classic Bun Thit Nuong, you can add lemongrass for extra flavour. Chargrilled belly pork, taste amazing with dipping fish sauce and Vermicelli Noodles.
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 spring onions (white part only), finely sliced, and pounded
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 4 strips of belly pork
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  1. In a large bowl add the sugar, fish sauce, honey and pepper. Mix until the sugar dissolves, then add the spring onions and strips of belly pork.
  2. Coat the belly pork then add the vegetable oil, leave overnight to marinate the meat. It till absorb the flavours well.
  3. Preheat the oven on gas mark 5, add the meat on the grill rack then cook one side for 15 minutes. You start to see the meat char from the honey, then turn over the other side.
  4. Once cooked through, allow it to cool for 10 mins, then cut the meat into 3-4 inch slices.

Char Grilled belly pork - Bun Thit Nuong Recipe

This very easy to follow a recipe for my version of the classic Bun Thit Nuong, you can add lemongrass for extra flavour. Chargrilled belly pork, taste amazing with dipping fish sauce and Vermicelli Noodles.
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword asian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Author lebinh


  • baking tray


  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 spring onions (white part only), finely sliced, and pounded
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4  strips of belly pork
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass


  • In a large bowl add the sugar, fish sauce, honey and pepper. Mix until the sugar dissolves, then add the spring onions and strips of belly pork.
  • Coat the belly pork then add the vegetable oil, leave overnight to marinate the meat. It till absorb the flavours well.
  • Preheat the oven on gas mark 5, add the meat on the grill rack then cook one side for 15 minutes. You start to see the meat char from the honey, then turn over the other side.
  • Once cooked through, allow it to cool for 10 mins, then cut the meat into 3-4 inch slices.
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How to make Vietnamese coffee Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:11:37 +0000 vietnamese coffee

In a cup add condensed milk, it doesn’t matter how much as you can always add later on.

1 tablespoon of Vietnamese coffee to your stainless steel coffee filter

Fill with hot water to the top.

Slowly wait for the coffee to drip and stir

vietnamese coffee cap phe vn Processed with VSCOcam with g1 preset

How to make Vietnamese coffee
Recipe Type: Coffee
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Author: Lebinh Ngo
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
How to make Vietnamese coffee
  • 1 tablespoon of vietnamese Coffee
  • 2-3 tablespoons of condensed milk
  • 20-30ml of hot water
  1. In a cup add condensed milk, it doesn’t matter how much as you can always add later on.
  2. tablespoon of Vietnamese coffee to your stainless steel coffee filter
  3. Fill with hot water to the top.
  4. Slowly wait for the coffee to drip and stir

you can buy Vietnamese coffee from Ca Phe VN

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She came from down under – MissChu Mon, 21 Apr 2014 21:30:04 +0000 The faded almost photocopied looking face with the logo “MissChu”. All looked familiar to me. People in my foodie circle tweeted photos of the bikes and my family down under gave me exposure to MissChu.

MissChu London

MissChu tuckshop only has one location in London, in Algate East. She has 7 outlets in Australia. The sign with dumplings lured me in, the store stood out like a sore thumb along Whitechapel.

photo 1

I was in the area for “the boy who ate the world” supper club and wanted some small snacks. Ordering food is very similar to dim sum parlours. Tick the boxes on the sheet of paper and hand it over to the cashier.

photo 3

From the cashier onwards you can see the bamboo baskets stacked high. On this occasion I had the BBQ pork steam bun and Shanghai dumplings. Waiting over 15-20 minutes for my food to be steamed. My order came in takeaway bags and containers.

photo 5 photo 4

The BBQ pork bun came in a soft cloudy bouncy bun, the BBQ red sauce escaping the inside. The inside was filled with rich, sticky sweet sauce full of flavour; the pork had it savoury sweetness.


The shanghai dumplings did not disappoint soup/juice came out as I bit the corner. The cabbage brought out the pork fattiness. The pork was healthy pink; the chives went well with the pork meatiness. My only complaint was the skin was slightly undercooked.

photo 1 photo 2

I also got one of the ice coffees; a little too sweet I desperately waited for the ice to melt to dilute the flavours.


Overall I think what I had as tasters were absolutely delicious and I will not hesitate to come back to explore the Vietnamese menu. Hey there’s even chargers for your iPhones by the sockets too.

MissChu on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

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