A dish a day at An Khue Quan

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Bo cuon la lot (grilled beef wrapped with la lot leaves), a popular dish at An Khue Quan Restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City

Sometimes in the late afternoon I go to An Khue Quan restaurant on Le Lai Street, Ho Chi Minh City for some light traditional fare.

An Khue Quan offers such a large variety - literally hundreds of dishes - of Vietnamese specialties from various regions that one could eat there for ages without having to repeat an order.

It is a three-story restaurant with simple, black wooden tables. The first and second floors offer nice park views.

The menu is in both Vietnamese and English. My friend usually orders bun cha Ha Noi (Hanoi-style grilled pork served with sweet and sour sauce and vermicelli) and kho quet (a popular southern country-style dish including boiled vegetables served with a special sauce).

Sometimes she orders a small dish, a throwback to our childhood, like bi cuon (rolls of sliced pork skin served with roasted nut and special sauce).

She says bun cha Ha Noi is one of the best dishes at An Khue Quan. Naturally, since she eats it all the time. But she may be right since the sauce is more intense that at other restaurants and dish is more flavorful.

In the late afternoon it was better for me to choose a very light dish to ensure I have space for dinner. A bowl of mien ga (casava vermicelli noodle served with chicken soup) seemed like a good option.

If I had been looking for something filling, I would have ordered the bo la lot (grilled beef wrapped with piper lolot leaves) which is served with bun (rice vermicelli) and fresh herbs.

An Khue Quan Restaurant

92B Le Lai Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

The restaurant has an interesting and varied salad menu. The highlights are southern specialties. There is scallop salad (VND58,000), coconut sprout and dried beef salad (VND58,000), coconut sprout and shrimp and pork salad (VND58,000), beef salad with tamarind sauce (VND58,000), mango and pork meat shrimp salad (VND58,000).

Another highlight is the selection of vermicelli dishes all the way from the north to the south. It has bun thit nuong (grilled pork served with vermicelli, VND45,000), bun bo nam bo (stirred fried beef with vermicelli, VND50,000), grilled pork and scallop spring roll served with vermicelli (VND48,000), crab spring roll served with vermicelli, thit nuong (grilled pork), chao tom (minced shrimp with sugarcane), banh hoi (grilled pork, shrimp sugarcane served with rice vermicelli, VND50,000), thit luoc cuon banh trang (roll of sliced steamed pork meat and fresh herbs with rice paper, VND45,000).

For a quick lunch, there are also rice dishes served with other delicious flavors such as crab meat, scallop, fish, beef, chicken wing, and pork cooked in coconut water.

There is coconut fried rice (VND58,000), lotus fried rice (VND55,000), fried fish with mango salad and steamed rice (VND45,000), crab meat fried rice (VND55,000) and scallop fried rice (VND55,000).

An Khue Quan also has a seafood menu and that HCMC favorite, hot pot.

It is one of the few restaurants in town to serve traditional dishes such as rice balls served with sesame and salt and fried rice balls.

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