A top barbecue

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I have had dinner at 3T thrice, and every time I thank my friends for showing me the place.

Six months ago my friends, coming back from Australia to visit Ho Chi Minh City, had asked me to take them to this barbecue place in the downtown area.

Some of their foreign friends, Australian and American, had told them about this place: "People say it does the best barbecue in town. Good food and good atmosphere."

And so I took them to the restaurant, which is on the roof of a three-story building on Ton That Thiep Street (3T"¦ see?).

The ground floor of the building is occupied by an ice-cream shop, and the second floor by a club named Temple Club.

There are no signboards for 3T. We see Asian elephants with paraffin lamps on their backs and a Buddha as we go up.
We step out of the quiet stairs into a noisy, crowded place. We were in 3T.

It is around 7:00 p.m. on a weekend, and the place is full. We have to wait for a while to get three seats. Lesson learnt. For my subsequent visits I made reservations.

3T makes the barbeque right at your table using a gas oven and grill. There is a wide selection with pork, beef, deer, goat, fish, and seafood at a fairly expensive VND100,000 200,000 per dish.

It all seemed a bit chaotic at first, but when we settled down things became smooth. Everything was good with the world: we were on a rooftop looking over Saigon, our food was being grilled, there was beer.

We tried beef with cheese, pork breast, shrimp with salt and chili, and all of it was outstanding. The pork breast was served with okra, eggplant, and bindweed.

What we liked about the meats was that they were well marinated in fragrant, tasty spices, making them delicious. They did not turn dry either and remained very soft.

The prawns were incredibly fresh.

The barbecued dishes were also accompanied by fresh vegetables and salt and pepper with lime, which was perfect for the prawns.

For the beef and pork, we ordered some tofu with chili.
I noticed some people asking for rice paper and rice vermicelli and rolling up their barbecue like a spring roll.

A dish of cabbage salad is also worth a try. It is quite spicy and looks like kimchi, "but tastes much better than kimchi," according to one of my companions.

Apart from the barbecued stuff, we also had pork stomach stewed with green pepper in an earthen pot, a specialty of 3T.

3T RESTAURANT

29 - 31 Ton That Thiep Street,

District 1, HCMC

It is a bit like a hot pot, and is served with soy sauce and watercress. We can order rice, vermicelli, or noodle to eat with it.

Apart from the food, the service was also very good.
We never had to wait for long for anything as the waiters were all eyes and ears despite the crowd. Despite being in a constant hurry, they were solicitous, especially with foreigners who were occasionally struggling with the Vietnamese menu.

They constantly tended to the barbecue, ensuring the food was not burnt or overdone.

The second time I went to 3T, someone was having a birthday party. The lights were dimmed, leaving the place dark, and the staff set off fireworks.

A word of caution if you plan to go to 3T choose comfortable clothes and dispense with elaborate make-up since the food is barbecued right beside us and the smell of oil, smoke, and grilled food clings to us.

The waiter brings a plate of fruit for free after clearing up and leaves us, on a full belly, to contemplate what just went.

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