Right in the heart of the capital, the newly-opened Khoai Restaurant offered a nice place to enjoy Hanoi delicacies and signature Japanese, Chinese and Western dishes.

 Sashimi is well-decorated in Japanese style. Photos: Tra My

The diversified menu with different culinary styles makes Khoai Restaurant an ideal option for groups of people. Each one can choose a dish that satisfies his/her taste bud. That’s why I brought my Japanese friend, Tomoko Aida, to this place.

Initially, I was unsure whether she could eat Vietnamese food, so I went with the safe option of introducing Tomoko Aida to a restaurant where she could choose her familiar Japanese food or sample Vietnamese dishes if she fancied it.

We ordered salmon sashimi, the only Japanese dish of the meal. Then she wants to experience something Vietnamese, so I let her discover the menu herself.

Tomoko Aida ordered steamed prawns with peperomia pellucida salad, and we all agreed that was a good choice. All the ingredients are fresh and mixed in a sour-and-sweet dressing. It’s extremely harmonious.

Then the waitress recommended us try fried salted-egg tiger prawn. It’s delicious and eye-catching, with a gorgeous golden crust covering the red prawn. At first glance, it’s already mouth-watering.

Salted egg yolk is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine. People collect yolks from duck eggs and preserve them for a week in brine. It’s popular for many years in the stuffing of mooncakes. Nowadays,  its presence in festive dishes takes popular ingredients such as tofu and shrimp to a new level.

Indeed, tofu and prawn are better in salted egg sauce. The dish has a beautiful color and charming taste. 

So the prawn is fresh and crunchy. The salted egg crust is rich, creamy, buttery, and grainy. We all licked our fingers, enjoying the creamy yolk sauce.

Grilled oyster with cheese.

We were all good with the side dishes, but I wanted my friend to have a specialty in Vietnam’s northern countryside, so I ordered a freshwater crab hot pot. It’s also a must-try dish of Khoái Restaurant, especially in early Winter when a hot pot is a great choice.

The ingredients are prepared on a flat bamboo basket or a bronze round tray, the traditional Vietnamese crockery. We all wowed as the waitress placed the tray in front of us. It was colorful with many ingredients containing bamboo baskets which farmers used to catch crabs.

It’s like we are going to eat a whole garden as the dish is served with a wealth of vegetables and herbs such as spinach, red and white amaranth, cowslip creeper flower, sponge gourd, lettuce, marjoram, purslane, sliced banana flower, perilla…

 Steamed prawn with peperomia pellucida salad.

For expats in Vietnam, it’s an excellent chance to indulge yourself in diversified Vietnamese cuisine as many ingredients are put together in one dish in a harmonious way.

To make this dish, the chef chose fat crabs only. They are soaked and washed with salt water to eliminate the bad fishy smell, then cleaned with fresh water. The chef separated the crab roe and kept it in a bowl. Traditionally, he grinds the crab bodies with a mortar and pestle, adding some salt to it. Then he extracts the juice and meat after discarding the shells.

The broth is made from the juice extracted from the crabs, fried shallots, dracontomelon, vinegar, spring onions, and diced tomato to make it colorful and tasty.

Khoai Restaurant’s crab hot pot is accompanied by pig cartilage, fish balls, pig ear ham, fried tofu, and beef.

The sourness and sweet broth are pleasant during winter when it’s wonderful to have a hot bowl of rice noodles in crab soup.

 Freshwater crab hot pot is an ideal option for cold days.

Tom sot trung muoi: fried salted-egg tiger prawn is a must-try dish.

 Khoai Restaurant is a nice place for groups of friends to discover local food.

Khoai Restaurant

Add: 7 Da Tuong St, Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi

Call: 092 552 07 07

World Cup Promotions: Free 5 beer or Thai grilled squid for reservations only, free viewing of  World Cup 2022 on giant screens for all gourmets.