The Vietnamese trend in insane right now, in fact Seoul is bursting at the seams with Vietnamese restaurants. However while there may be the quantity, not all have quality. I can remember Vietnamese cuisine being available since I very first arrived in Korea, 10 years ago, in fact one of the first places I wrote about when I started blogging was a Vietnamese restaurant. However it really kicked up a notch 2-3 years ago, and recently it has gone so berserk that you can find 3 restaurants on one street, making it hard to choose where to get food
Quynh really sets itself apart with its decor. The old Un Deux Trois location has had a complete revamp, and looks a million miles away from the french bistro that previously occupied the space. The shades of white and mint are very light and airy, coupled with the wide open frontage and shining sun it exudes an LA vibe that I’m sure will make it a very popular location to eat in all summer long.
Bun Cha is my favourite Vietnamese dish so when I saw it I squealed with delight. There are two varieties on the menu, the Traditional Bun Cha (13,000), and the Sizzling Bun Cha (15,000), being a girl who likes a bit danger in her life I went for the Sizzling Version. The dish came with a hot plate of meat which was smoking when it arrived, a large plate of rice noodles, fresh Vietnamese herbs and lettuce, deep fried Vietnamese spring rolls and a bowl of the cold sweet, sour, and salty dipping sauce. I think I died and went to heaven the first time I ate this dish in Vietnam so I was excited to see how this version compared. I thought the dish to be very plentiful, you could easily share this between two, or be very full if enjoying it yourself. There was also a good variety of different pork cuts that were nicely charred. However the dipping sauce is usually where all the flavour comes from and to me this one wasn’t quite packing the punch of flavour I was expecting.
You can’t have a Vietnamese restaurant without some pho on the menu, and this one has a massive five different versions, three being the more traditional types, and two crab & tomato versions. After much deliberation I decided on the Pho Tai Lan (11,000), this variety comes with the meat char-grilled which adds an extra depth of flavour. I liked this a lot, the broth was very tasty, though I found it hard to finish the noodles as I had overindulged on the bun cha platter.
As I was dining with a vegetarian, we added a few of the side dishes to bulk out her meal, so got Com Rang (9,000) a Vietnamese shrimp fried rice and the Rau Muong (8,000) a garlic stir fried morning glory. The rice I really enjoyed, I’m generally on board with any kid of fried rice but this one was rather magical, especially with the accompanying soy sauce. That stuff was the bomb and reminded me a lot of the treacly, thick, slightly sweet variety you get in Indonesia. There were plenty of shrimps throughout. The morning glory I enjoyed but I had so much food to devour of the meaty variety that it didn’t really get a look in.
Probably my favourite item of the day were the incredible Cot Dua Ca Phe (5,000). These coconut flavoured ice coffees were amazing, and probably the best ice coffee I’ve had in forever. Made with Vietnamese coconut cream, coffee and condensed milk they were like a dessert and coffee all rolled into one. Throw in a splash of Malibu and you would have a serious party drink on your hands. Sitting outside on the terrace with one of these babies in my hand I could see myself getting some serious day drinking going on, especially as they also serve a variety of Vietnamese beers, and the Mozzie New Zealand wines.
Overall I really enjoyed the vibe at Quyhn and right now they have one of the hottest locations in Itaewon. For an inside/outside location it is pretty hard to beat and if you snag a window seat you can do some serious people watching. The food menu is similar to most of the other Vietnamese restaurants around, but the whole feel of the place has a modern sophistication that most restaurants of this genre in Seoul are missing. If you like hanging out in cool spots, its definitely worth a visit.
Quynh is located at 123-33 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon station and come out of exit 2. Walk straiht for about a clock and yu will see Quynh just up ahead on the left hand side next to Coffee Bean. For more information you can call them on 02-796-1244 or check out their facebook page. They are open all day everyday, making it perfect for a midnight feast.