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“Not all it’s hyped up to be”
Review of Cau Ba Quan

Cau Ba Quan
Ranked #312 of 3,860 Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City
Price range: US$5 - US$20
Cuisines: Vietnamese
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Description: Streetfood type restaurant with quality ingredients that serves mainly fresh seafood and contemporary dishes created by the chef/owner. Absolutely no MSG used!
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Maybe we are biased because we found some truly incredible seafood while we were in Vietnam, but I was expecting more from a David Chang recommendation. The flavor of the sauces on the seafood was delicious, but the menu pricing is misleading and portion sizes were small.

2  Thank Abbie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3 - 7 of 76 reviews

Reviewed 3 weeks ago

So if you google this place it says it's permanently closed. Not true at all. If you look closer you'll see that there is a different address from before. That's because they moved to a new, bigger location. It's still right off the river front though. So make sure you put the address on Trip Advisor into your google maps or waze because that'll take you to the correct location.

As far as the food goes, compliments to the Chef! Everything she recommended to us was amazing. We literally just said bring us out about 6 dishes that you recommend or think we should try (new or old favorites) and I honestly couldn't tell you I enjoyed one dish over the other. They were all so flavorful and different. I do think you have to get some type of seafood dish of course. And they make a great salad. I honestly would recommend going with a few people and doing it family style. That way you get to try a little bit of everything.

To try and put the food into perspective. I'm from LA so I've had my fair share of well reviewed, highly recommended restaurants. And they were all very good. But if you plucked this place up and stuck it down in LA, It'd probably be my favorite restaurant in all of LA. That's how good it was.

Thank Andy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nikkytran, Owner at Cau Ba Quan, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoy it!

You make me want to put L.A on the map for my goal next year!

Nikky Tran!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Like many who have sought out this restaurant, it was attributable to Dave Chang featuring Nikky Tran's street resto on his recent Netflix series. I took a friend to Cau Ba Quan (or Kau Ba as the menu is headed) with an appropriate warning that he should keep an open mind. Nikky was absent on the Friday evening we went, but we dived through the crowded masses on the pavement tables and headed up some narrow stairs to the first floor (2nd for those who don't know when they are on the ground). Choice of long low tables or massive half logs on steel frames which attack your knees.
Bia Saigon was swiftly summoned, arriving in a bucket, opened and set on the table. The multipage menu highlighted the reasons you came to Cau Ba Quan in the first place, so without much ado we selected the Chef's specials in fish (kingfish it was), crispy fried rice, mud crab and river prawns Louisinam style.
Rice came with the second beers, served with a soy sauce on the side. Not especially flavourful, but texturally mouth-pleasing. Nothing more for a while, which caused the beers to mysteriously evaporate. Crab suddenly appears, and the waiter (a diligent and sanguine soul with much energy) is instructed to find the third serving of Bia.The mud crab (we got the last one) was topped, the body halved and each claw separated, so it was easy to share. The flavour was clean and the flesh fragrant, while the sauce was not too forceful to overwhelm the natural flavour. By now our hands were objects to be held away from the body like a zombie, dripping in sauce. No fingerbowl, and the obligatory plastic wrapped handtowel already soaked, we had to retreat to the toilet off the landing to rinse our hands. The (open) room next to the washroom was used as a pantry, and open rice sacks were accessible to anybody. This may need remedy.
Back to the table, fresh beer served, and a slab of something coated in molé-coloured sauce had been set on the table, with a heap of salad greens as garnish. This was the grilled kingfish steak, and while the fish was fresh if overcooked, the tamarind sauce was a little unrefined.
Finally, and after a considerable delay, la pièce de resistance showed up. The local river prawns with a sauce reminiscent of gumbo but less pungent. They were cooked to perfection, and ignoring scalding heat, we greedily shelled them and dipped them into the sauce before taking morsel bites from the delicate flesh. So this was what we had come for!
The place is rough and ready, the table service willing but chaotic. Facilities are primitive and comfort is not ranked highly. But restaurants are about food, and in this case Cau Ba Quan delivers flavours which are unusual while familiar, and produce which is fresh and well selected. Simple food, prepared for gourmands, not gourmets.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Dismanirie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

I first found out about this restaurant from the Netflix series, SOMEBODY FEED PHIL, so before our trip to Ho Chi Minh City, I emailed owner Nikki Tran about our upcoming visit. She responded immediately!

We took a short taxi ride there, and we saw small, plastic picnic tables outside...it looked more like a small bbq joint or a dive bar at a beach instead of such an eclectic restaurant. We ordered what Phil ordered...it looked that good. We also got a noodle and beef dish, too. We tossed in some of Nikki’s homemade hot sauce with the noodles, and we loved it.

Nikki’s food is Vietnamese with a Cajun twist, so she cooks with butter, unlike other Vietnamese chefs, so it was nice to get something a little different. We saw lots of locals there, which is always a great sign. Our expectations were high, and everything was as flavorful as anticipated, although I would have liked more dressing on the HAPPY salad, but because of the language difference, I didn’t bother to ask our server.

We got to chat with Nikki for a few minutes, and we’re so happy for her success. It truly was a memorable meal, and I’d highly recommend Cau Ba Quan to anyone who wants something a little different...with an edge.

Thank JLCZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nikkytran, Owner at Cau Ba Quan, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Thank you so much for your kind words, I will tell my employees to put in extra sauce for our customers from now on. To b honest I like mine with a lot of sauce too.

Best regards!

Nikky

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Reviewed March 14, 2018

We were in hoi chi min city for four days. I saw this restaurant on tv feed Phil. Was dying to try. Oh my gosh don’t bother. We got there and it was busy so we thought have a drink. After being ignored for over 15 min and asking we got a drink. The waitress brought two menus for four people which was okay. We tried to order no luck after half hr she brought a paper and pen for us to write our choices. So we did she submitted and one hr later one dish came out.. then 20 min later another dish our third dish we were told after waiting 90 min was not available. Food cold. Only one waitress and she was running, trying to take care of her child. Two tables of 20 men there who got great service cases of beer to table tons of food. We did not. Then police came to give her a ticket and impound bike so she was distracted half hour with that. We paid to take a taxi to have crap food. I wanted to meet Nikki too. Going back to hoi chi min on March 27 but wonder should I go.. Nikki you should be there at nights to see service. Can you believe waitress charged us for two wet naps 4000 dong.

1  Thank HappyTraveller010257
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nikkytran, Owner at Cau Ba Quan, responded to this reviewResponded March 17, 2018

I am so sorry for the bad experience that you had at our restaurant. I apologize for everything. I was away at a funeral at the time. Please come back and I'll have you guys taken care of on the 27th. The meal is on me!

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