Merry Christmas! On this Christmas day, we are saying goodbye to Saigon and heading towards the fourth leg of our Asia-tour, Singapore. Looking back on these two weeks, who knew that our stay in Vietnam would be so rich with wine. We must have had a few glasses every night. The old French colony is a fine destination (in Asia) if you have a craving for some fermented grape juice during your journey. Here are a few tips where to go in Saigon:
Wine Bar 38, is a three-story wine bar located on one of the main street, Dong Khoi. The name of the bar represents the street address, so it is not very hard to find. As is to be expected, the bar has a good selection of French wines. Additionally I saw some Riesling from Mosel, Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough (Australia) and white Bordeaux. I was mainly eyeing the whites as it has been so hot. The bar has two dispensing machines, one for red and one for white wines for having tasters. Both fit six bottles. There is a happy hour between 5 and 7 pm. when all wines are 50%. Good deal if you ask me, as the price for a glass drops to a few euros (50-85K Vietnamese Dong).
Where: 38 Dong Khoi, Disitrict 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Wine Embassy is also located in district 1, just off the main street, Dong Khoi. The wine embassy has an even better selection of wines by the glass, and they offer small portions from 4cl and up. Wine Embassy also organizes tastings and wine classes. They serve everything from Riedel glassware. This bar is a touch up in wine-professionalism from Bar 38. The wine selection is very similar, heavy on France as well as Australia and other New World wines. Happy hour is also from 5 to 7 pm with a lovely 50% off, so you will not end up paying an arm and a leg as long as you keep your eyes on the clock.
Where: 13 Ngo Duc Ke, Disitrict 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Annam Gourmet Market is the place to go if you want to buy wine. You will not find a bargain, but if you want a bottle of champagne, the selection is ok. Ok for Asia I mean. You have a selection of around 20-30 bubblies including also some finer wines like a Krug Grande Cuvee. The champagnes start from around 700K Vietnamese Dong (around 30€). The shop has also other foods and treats. Keep your eyes open though, many western products are quite unreasonably priced, so you will find a better bargain on a box of sweets somewhere else.
Where: 16-18 Hai Ba Trung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
This was my first time in Saigon, so I think we just scratched the surface. I am sure there are some even better wine spots in the city. We had such a good selection at the hotel lounge, that we did not really go out and explore that much. Our hotel, the Sofitel Saigon Plaza, also has a decent bar in the lobby, as well as we read up about the roof top bar at the Sheraton being quite ok. So if you don’t have time for much research, the hotels seem to carry an ok selection (and the prices weren’t that bad).
This was it from Ho Chi Minh City. Next time I will be writing to you from Singapore.