[Ho Chi Minh City] Saigon (former name of HCMC) continues to welcome new dining establishment and Secret House is one on the radar for many foodies.
Within a few months of opening, it has been favourably reviewed and loved.
The owner has a restaurant portfolio that is well loved, namely Mountain Retreat and Secret Garden. These are restaurants frequented by both locals and tourists looking for authentic Vietnamese food in a comfortable and rural setting,
They all serve Vietnamese home cooked food, and are packed be it weekday or weekend, which says something about the quality of the restaurants they operate.
Secret House is by no means different. You can expect nothing less from the artistic minds behind this restaurant.
The main appeal lies in its rural decoration, where an inner courtyard has been smartly and creatively turned into an herb garden.
Dark wooden furniture and old-school style tableware also add rustic charm to the dining experience.
The menu is extensive, aiming for every day staples of Vietnamese cuisine. Photos are included along with English translation which makes for easy ordering.
The dishes are of small portion thus great for sharing, suitable for those with a hankering for every flavour.
One can start off with Guava Salad with Dried Baby Shrimp (85,000VND, SGD$5.09) that serves as a good palate cleanser.
The guava provided a difference in texture as well as light sweetness to the mix without being overpowering.
The right amount of bite for each piece of Deep Fried Sticky Rice (95,000VND, SGD$5.69) topped with sliced mushroom, dried pork floss and minced pork, dipped in chili sauce made another delightful appetizer.
On almost every occasion that I have eaten there, this is a dish I order without fail: Fried Baby Squid with Fish Sauce (85,000VND, SGD$5.09).
It left a deep impression with the slightly crunchy exterior packed with flavor, sitting on top of a ton of deep fried garlic.
The Grilled Chicken with Herbs (85,000VND, SGD$5.09) was a tad underwhelming when compared to the squid.
While I still enjoyed the juiciness of the meat, I wished for the dish overall to be slightly sweeter and more well-seasoned.
Every home cooked Vietnamese meal is accompanied by a bowl of soup intended to be shared by diners.
Canh Chua Ca (85,000VND, SGD$5.09) is a type Vietnamese sweet and sour fish soup, that one dish you can order at every Vietnamese eatery.
The soup features pineapple, tomatoes, okra, beansprout, fish and tamarind. Secret House’s rendition of Canh Chua has the almost perfect blend of sweet, sour and spice. Very tasty.
Locals would pick the fish out of the soup and place it on a separate plate containing fish sauce, so that it can absorb the flavor.
One more thing, the coffee and coconut smoothie were delicious.
Secret House comes with my highest recommendation if you are travelling to Saigon looking for honest and reliable Vietnamese food in a casual yet unique setting. Not to mention fast and courteous service.
Secret House by Secret Garden
55/2 Le Thi Hong Gam Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 91 187 70 08
Opening hours: 7:00am – 10:00pm
Google Maps – Secret House
* Written by DFD’s Ho Chi Minh Correspondent Hoang Anh Dang @youreatingbuddy. Anh relocated from London to Saigon, and loves sharing her eating journey from hole-in-the-wall shops to world’s best restaurants. Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.