Change without change

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Opened for around one month now, the new Quan Bui restaurant in Ngo Van Nam Street continues to serve authentic Vietnamese cuisine just like the original Quan Bui in Nguyen Van Nguyen Street.

Inside is a peaceful space of traditional Vietnamese ambience where everything is done in an authentic manner, the food above all.

I was struck by the design and decor when I ventured there for lunch a few days ago. Inside, I was greeted by three bamboo yokes containing flowers and fruits topped by three nón lá, the traditional hats of Vietnam.

The tables and chairs on the ground floor are wooden and look quite old, giving a warm feeling.

Pictures of old Vietnam hang on the walls, and in one corner of the main dining room is a stand of earthenware pottery where traditional cups and bowls in different designs are displayed, not only for decoration but for sale too.

I chose a table by the deck looking out onto a small parterre and the street beyond.

Pretty pictures of old Vietnam are printed in the menu, which covers all kinds of Vietnamese cuisine from the country's north, center and south, and includes a special list of northern food, spring rolls, different kinds of salad and rice, noodles and hotpots. Prices range from VND40,000 to around VND300,000.

For lunch, I chose to have a common meal of familiar food like sour soup with chopped fish, braised fish in a clay pot, okra fried with garlic and of course rice.

All of the dishes, which were served in earthenware bowls and dishes, were individual and scrumptious. Among them, I liked the braised fish the most as it was fragrant, greasy in the best style, and definitely moreish.

After wolfing down the food, I took time out to discover more of Quan Bui's interior design.

Each of the four stories is different in style and ambience. One of the few things they have in common is a blackboard on every floor listing the day's specials and their prices.

The air-conditioned second floor is quite modern in appearance while the third floor, which looks across to a French terrace over the road, has an old-world atmosphere.

And on the top is a leafy roof garden and bar that is perfect for enjoying snacks and drinks.

Quan Bui is certainly worth a try for anyone who wants to experience Vietnamese cuisine at its finest.

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