Grilled Bliss

Love for barbecue in the city is strong, and Big Pig BBQ & Beer is set to fill the love

Originally opened at their Truong Son location (46 Truong Son, Tan Binh) by the airport, due to its growing popularity Big Pig BBQ & Beer has expanded to two more locations, one in Hoc Mon and one that opened last month in District 3 (12 Cao Thang, D3), which we visited for this review.

Walking in the ambiance is one of a sports-themed bar and grill, with large screen TVs switched onto sports channels (as just one example, Big Pig shows the entire AFL football season). Prominent on one wall is a sizeable display showing all of the craft beers, both draft and bottled, that are available from East West, Pasteur Street, Rooster, C-Brewmaster and more. An advantage that Big Pig has over the competition is that their beer prices are comparatively lower.

After taking in our surroundings we sat at a high table in the comfortably temperature controlled room. The menu offers a large selection of traditional bar and grill fare: salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, pasta, steaks, ribs, seafood and more. They also have hot pots, oysters, a good dessert selection and a tasty looking breakfast menu of hearty plates, such as Saigon’s Best Breakfast (VND150,000), which includes two eggs, home smoked bacon, sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomato and roasted potatoes served with mashed avocado and a toasted baguette.

While there were so many appetizing choices we started with the quinoa and lentil salad (VND190,000) that includes quinoa, lentils, mixed greens, avocado, cherry tomato and asparagus tossed in a balsamic dressing and topped with grilled Halloumi cheese and fresh mint. Most of the BBQ joints in the city either skip salads altogether or underwhelm with what they have, but the salads at Big Pig are on par with the quality of their grilled meats. The lentils and quinoa were fluffy and chewy, the veggies were crispy and the cheese was subtle and savory, while the balsamic was nicely tart and fruity with hints of the mint popping up in the occasional bite. For vegetarians or health-conscious eaters accompanying their more carnivorous mates, you’ll really enjoy
the salads on offer. The tabbouleh salad (VND160,000) and the summer salad (VND150,000) also look fresh and exceptional.

We soon had a difficult choice to make: Do we want pizza, pasta, something from the grill, something else? We went with the biggest meat selection (well I did already ate a healthy salad) on the menu since, after all, Big Pig is a BBQ joint, and we paired that with a few fried sides. We ordered The American Platter, which includes German sausage, ribs, prawn skewers and homemade bacon (VND540,000). We accompanied it with french fries (VND75,000) and onion rings (VND70,000).

When the American platter came it took up half the table: the sausage was at least a foot long and thick, there were half a dozen ribs, the bacon was piled high, the prawns were large and separated on the skewers by grilled peppers and onions. There were also three sauces, barbeque, honey mustard and a spicy, yet sweet chili sauce, all house-made. The pork for the sausage, ribs and bacon is imported from Poland and Germany and the bacon and sausage are prepared in-house.

The bacon was thick and chewy with touches of crispiness around the edges. Big Pig takes their bacon seriously, marinating it for seven days before it’s smoked. The smoky flavor was distinctive and I envisioned how amazing this would be paired with a couple of scrambled eggs and some hash browns. At this point the server set down the french fries and onion rings, straight from the fryer, so after I swallowed the bacon I detoured to the sides while they were piping hot. The fries were a spot-on replica of  McDonald’s, which are consistently listed at the top of the world rankings for fast food fries. The onion rings were large, a crispy golden brown batter curled around a thick section of fresh, crunchy onion.

Next we tried the ribs, which were coated in a tangy, tomato-based marinade. The meat fell off the bone, which I dipped in the chili sauce for an added kick. The German sausage was delightful, salted slightly and quite juicy, seamlessly matched with the house-made honey mustard. Meanwhile, the large prawns were buttery, sweet and flavorful.

And to finally finish off our lunch, we ordered a chocolate mud pudding with vanilla ice cream (VND120,000). The ice cream comes from Fanny and they have a number of flavors available (VND35,000/scoop). This was rich and sweet, the brownie soft and warm with the liquid chocolate center mixing with the melting vanilla ice cream as we finished every last bite.

They have a three-course set menu for lunch from 11am-2pm Monday through Friday, normally VND199,000, but currently being offered for the promotional price of VND99,000. Big Pig BBQ & Beer is sure to satisfy your hunger for beer, BBQ, bar food and sports.

Images by Vy Lam

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