Think District 7 is only fast food chains and modern apartment blocks? Think again – a closer look reveals some surprising spots that will help you see another side of this southern suburb…
Although Nguyen Thi Thap Street is best known for LotteMart, nestled in the shadow of the retail monolith are actually some great garden cafes and the best of the bunch is Loi Mon, meaning “path” in Vietnamese. Offering cool shaded seating on the ground floor and a tree-house loft on the second, this open-air cafe is a refreshing alternative to the usual coffee chains. Come on a weekend evening to catch live pre-war Vietnamese and French acoustic music done with a touch of class.
Just off Nguyen Thi Thap on Le Van Luong is 3 Thi. While not big on atmosphere, this place serves incredibly delicious mi quang that some locals say is the best south of Danang. Prices here are low so there’s plenty left in your wallet for a smoothie or coffee at one of the cafes in the neighborhood. Its location makes for a great vantage point to watch how the nouveau riche mix with the working class.
With most of the dining scene in Phu My Hung dominated by Korean restaurants, you can still find diversity if you’re willing to look, and Takoika aims to do just that. Bringing a touch of that Nippon culture to the area, it’s a Japanese soul food restaurant that specializes in various octopus dishes. Getting here by bike on Huynh Tan Phat Street is a bit of an adventure in itself but your reward is an amazing meal.
If you like rooftop bars but are tired of ten-dollar beers and posers, then climb on up to Mori Cafe near RMIT. Come in the evening, grab a seat on the terrace, catch the evening breeze off the river and enjoy a new view of the city.
For those missing that smoky barbecued taste in their food and eating under the uninterrupted night sky, then just skip over to nearby 404 Truong Son BBQ. Ignore the half dozen or so BBQ places on this square – 404 is the best of the lot. For VND200,000 you can satiate four hungry friends on BBQ pork, chicken and even goat breast. But bewarthis is a true countryside style eating experience with low plastic chairs, metal tables, and a whole lot of new friends who like to shout and toast to almost anything.
Now we couldn’t get away without including at least one refined place to our list. Tram Anh Tea & Coffee mirrors Phu My Hung’s image as one of the more civilized districts of Ho Chi Minh City. Tram Anh produces one of the best coffein Vietnam. Don’t believe me? Then just ask for a free cup, they will be more than happy to brew one for you and explain the farming and roasting process. How’s that for hospitality in District 7?
451 Nguyen Thi Thap, D7
322 Le Van Luong, D7
549 Huynh Tan Phat, D7
1 Street 9a, D7
404 truong Son BBQ
404 Truong Son (street9a), D7
Tram Anh Tea & Coffee
1429 My Toan 2, Phu My Hung