For two countries so close geographically, there is very little cultural overlap between Thailand & Vietnam, and that includes the countries’ cuisines. Just as it’s nigh-on impossible to find authentic Thai food in Saigon or Hanoi, so it is a real challenge finding proper Vietnamese cuisine here in Bangkok. Which, given the fact that both cuisines use pretty much the same ingredients, is rather surprising.
After eating at a couple of lauded “Vietnamese” restaurants that unfortunately placed presentation over authenticity (aesthetics are bottom of the list as far as the Vietnamese are concerned, in food as well as in architecture, interior design and pretty much every other facet of life), I’d given up any thoughts of getting a Viet food fix here, until I happened across this post on the excellent Eating Thai Food blog. The restaurant in question, Vietnamese & More, is not only praised for its authenticity, it’s also a mere 15 minutes’ stroll from chez moi! Serendipity in action.
Run by friendly Viet-American Alex and his family, Vietnamese & More is an intimate family restaurant located in the depths of Sukhumvit soi 16, next to the large Monterey Place condo building. There’s little signage outside and you have to take your shoes off to go inside (something I traditionally hate doing but in this case it’s worth it), as you’re basically eating in someone’s living room.
But you’re not here for plush surroundings, slick service & Michelin-star presentation – you’re here for proper, authentic, home-cooked Vietnamese food, and that’s exactly what you get. I always tell my wife I enjoy her cooking as I can taste the love in it, and the same applies to V&M. This is real Vietnamese soul food – fresh spring rolls, nem nuong, banh cuon and many more, all cooked with passion, attention to detail, and an insistence on authentic ingredients. It even passes the pho authenticity test – few restaurants outside Vietnam can make such a claim – and the bun thit nuong is head & shoulders above any I’ve ever eaten in Saigon.
And when V&M does divert slightly from the path of authenticity, it’s in the cause of improvement. Banh xeo (crispy pancake) is one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes, but the Vietnamese insistence on using unshelled shrimp really annoys me. It’s lazy and shows a lack of concern for the diners. But V&M take the time to shell their shrimp first, and use minced pork instead of fatty belly slices, making it a pleasure to eat. They also serve selected Thai, Korean & Japanese dishes too, hence the “…and More” suffix.
My only quibble with the place is that sometimes their desire to present the food nicely detracts from the dining experience – dicing the components of nem nuong, rather than julienning them, may look nice, but it makes them a bugger to hand-roll!
But in general, Vietnamese & More is an absolutely superb addition to Bangkok’s Asian dining scene. It may be hard to find, and it may lack something in ambience, but in welcome, quality of food & value for money (lunch for 2 with drinks regularly comes in at under 500BHT), it’s an absolute winner!
Vietnamese and More
Address: 458 Soi Pai Sing To, Rama 4 Rd, Klong Toey 10110
Phone: 089 890 4890
Hours: Tue – Sun 11 am – 8:30 pm
Asoke BTS or Queen Sirikit MRT