My friend Judy introduced me to her friend Mimi who lives in Saigon (and works for an incredible charity against human trafficking
). As we were heading to Hoi An, she insisted we try Mango Mango
, her absolutely favorite restaurant in the area. And she kept sending me messages including the article on the owner Duc in the NY Times
and telling me to go until I booked it.
Mango Mango Hoi An entrance
The moment we walked in and saw the beautiful plates being paraded around the restaurant we knew were in for a good meal and a fun time.
The night got even better when Duc (the owner) came to say hi and ended up chatting with us for a while. He is fantastic – charismatic and engaging and very passionate about his food, Vietnam, his staff and the way he runs his business.
We started the dinner with some dangerous cocktails (you don’t realize how much alcohol they contain until later) and some nibbles courtesy of Duc.
Inside Mango Mango Hoi An
Cha gio, ala spring rolls. These rolls will mess me up for life – just like when we had Ramen at Kikanbo
in Japan and were never able to find anything that came close to as good in the US, London or anywhere. I truly believe Mango mango’s yummy crispy porky savory morsels of fried goodness can’t be replicated. I am not into fried foods usually but these were completely addictive.
Stewart has also been seeking good cha gio for as long as I have known him as he used to eat them in France prepared by a French Vietnamese chef who was friend of the family. He finally found them!
Best spring rolls on earth at mango Mango Hoi An!
Miss Mango salad – a bowl of vermicelli noodles topped with crispy rolls, grilled pork, mango, and fresh herbs, with fish sauce and crushed peanuts. The pork was extremely tender and Stewart had to fight me for it as I ate every bite of my proper half.
Miss Mango insanely good salad at mango Mango
We finished with the red snapper in banana leaf which my friend Vickie had the previous night and loved. The fish was beautifully cooked and the mango salsa on top wasn’t too sweet and actually had a nice kick.
Super tasty red snapper at Mango Mango Hoi An
As I always have space for dessert, we had their chocolate truffles.
We did come back for New Year’s Eve and had an insanely good starter with beet carpaccio and repeated the spring roll salad. Despite being full, we tried the caramelized bananas with ice cream. The banana was perfectly cooked and topped with their own creamy ice cream. This was the 1st time we encountered a dish with cinnamon after 10 days in Vietnam, odd… It was a great finale to a fantastic evening.
Banana dessert at mango Mango Hoi An
Duc owner of Mango Mango and his happy staff on NYE!
On another evening in Hoi An we went to Morning Glory from the famous chef Ms. Vy (original spot from her now empire of >10 restaurants). This was a massive disappointment. The food, service and ambiance were soulless and mediocre. We also took the Ms. Vy cooking class – there were probably 100 people there being split into groups for the classes and felt like an assembly line. We have taken loads of cooking classes and they are usually small and intimate.
In sum: Best Vietnamese food I’ve ever had. If you have one night in Hoi An try Mango Mango. If you have two, pick one of Duc’s other two spots (Mango Rooms and Mai Fish). If you have more, test all of them and then repeat!