Xuan Mai Restaurant Bangkok
Bangkok's Best Little Vietnamese Restaurant
It prides itself as 'the best little Vietnamese restaurant in Bangkok', and Xuan Mai (Spring Flower in Vietnamese) definitely lives up to its reputation. Serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine right in the heart of Bangkok, Xuan Mai offers wholesome, home-cooked Vietnamese cuisine. The small and cosy cafe-like atmosphere makes you feel like you're eating at someone's home - rather than a restaurant. To enhance this illusion the small see-through kitchen, revealing what is being prepared inside, is a pleasure to watch while waiting for your order.
If you're feeling lethargic after a long day, ordering the lotus tea is highly recommended. The subtle aroma of lotus blossoms spreading through your nose will restore your energy as well as whet your appetite. The fact that Vietnamese food relies heavily on an abundance of fresh herbs and vegetables is demonstrated by the serving of a basket filled with fresh, organic herbs, vegetables and Vietnamese-style pickles.
Besides Vietnamese mainstays such as pho bo (beef noodle soup), pho ga (chicken noodle soup) and fresh spring rolls, Xuan Mai's menu also offers a speciality dish like delectable Vietnamese papaya salad (no, it's not som tum), which is a plate of crunchy shredded green papaya, drizzled with dried sweet pork and holy basil leaves - a refreshing appetizer that will leave you wanting more. Another not-to-be-missed is grilled chicken with coconut and mung bean sticky rice, served with a bamboo and cucumber salad on the side.
While noodle soup comes in a few varieties, the most notable has to be 'Hu tien My Tho' (South Vietnamese style noodle). Served alongside garden-fresh bean sprouts, basil leaves and a slice of lime, this noodle soup is a speciality dish from the town of My Tho, south of Saigon. Hu tien My Tho is best eaten with everything mixed together, including hoi sin and chili sauce. Don't forget to leave some room for desserts. Try 'Che troi nuoc', sticky rice flour and sweet bean dumplings in an aromatic ginger broth with a dash of ground coconut and coconut cream. The contrasting flavours of ginger and sweet dumpling is unforgettable. Then top everything off with scrumptious French Quarter beignets, a fried doughnut sprinkled with icing sugar.
Service is swift and friendly, with the charming owner serving the food herself. If you're wondering what's in your 'Com ga xao xa ot', feel free to ask her. She'll be more than happy to answer any question you may have. If you're looking for authentic, reasonably-priced Vietnamese food in an unpretentious setting, Xuan Mai would be the perfect choice.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 - 14:00, 17:00 - 22:00 (Tues-Thurs); 11:00 - 14:00, 17:00 - 24:00 (Fri-Sun); Closed Mondays
- Location: Thonglor Soi 17
- BTS: Thong Lo
- Tel: +66 (0)2 185 2619
- How to get there: Take the Skytrain (BTS) to Thong Lo station and take a motorbike taxi to Soi 17.