Food & Recipes - October 1, 2023 | 12:00 am PT

Thai dining gems worth discovering across Vietnam

You can embark on a journey through the vibrant flavors of Thailand in Vietnam, from quiet spots to bustling streetside eateries, these top 10 Thai restaurants await you.

Saffron - Lang Co Bay

Saffron is nestled in the Banyan Tree Lang Co Hue Hotel, atop a hill in Lang Co Bay, one of the most beautiful coastal areas in central Vietnam. The restaurant offers a serene ambiance with a blend of Vietnamese-inspired décor and modern touches. The balcony provides views of Canh Duong Beach and the hillside – calm and charm describe the eating experience here.

The restaurant's menu features traditional Thai fine dining with a twist. The star ingredient of the dishes served at Saffron is the saffron flower, which is combined with four types of Thai rice.

The recipes are modified to incorporate the flavors of the nearby and historic Vietnamese imperial city of Hue, adding a touch of local authenticity to the dishes.

A set of Thai dishes featuring appetizer, main dish, soup and dessert at Saffron. Photo courtesy of Banyan Tree

In addition to the diverse range of dishes on the à la carte menu, Saffron offers recommended sets, featuring familiar Thai favorites such as gently braised chicken green curry, wok-fried morning glory, tom yum goong (spicy prawn soup), and fried soft-shell crab with green papaya salad. The restaurant also offers vegan, gluten-free, and halal options for guests with dietary preferences.

Saffron is one of the first Thai restaurants in Vietnam to receive the Thai Select Signature ranking, the highest rating in the ThaiSelect program, a mark of certification granted by the Thai Ministry of Commerce and the Royal Thai Government to guarantee the authentic taste of Thai restaurants around the world.

Saffron welcomes guests for dinner from Wednesday to Sunday between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Price range from VND160,000 to VND1,480,000 ($6.81 to $63.01) per dish.

Gusto Thai

Gusto Thai has been providing genuine dining experiences since 2012. Situated at 9 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Gusto prioritizes ingredient quality and flavor profiles. Their commitment has led to a Thai Select Classic certificate, the second highest ranking in the ThaiSelect program.

Gusto Thai restaurant spans four floors, seating around 80 guests. The modern interior is adorned with Thai-inspired artworks, while wooden tables are paired with green plants and potted flowers for a fresh feel.

Gusto Thai's menu offers four levels of spiciness, from the spiciest authentic Thai flavor to non-spicy options. The restaurant caters to various preferences, aiming for a balanced blend of sour, spicy, salty, and sweet tastes in their dishes.

Gusto Thai has a modern and luminous interior design, featuring artworks showcasing the hues of Thailand. Photo courtesy of Gusto Thai
Gusto Thai preserves the authenticity of their dishes, and takes pride in informing guests that certain meals cannot be modified. The menu includes items like chicken rolled with pandanus leaves, fried shrimp rolls, and Thai larb salad. A standout is the cherished pad Thai noodles, a Thai culinary icon. Vegetarian and vegan choices are also available.

Gusto Thai is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Price ranges from VND89,000 to VND799,000 ($3.79 to $34.01) per dish.

BBK Thai Restaurant

BBK Thai Restaurant is at 8 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Minh Khai Ward, Hong Bang District, Hai Phong, less than an hour drive from Hanoi. It holds the exclusive Thai Select Classic certificate in Hai Phong as the city's only Thai restaurant with such a recognition.

Housed in a vintage-style building, BBK Thai Restaurant offers a nostalgic journey with its traditional Vietnamese architectural charm. As you enter, you'll step into a past era with patterned tiles on the floors and simple black-and-white photographs on the walls. The restaurant's cozy ambiance is enriched by its wooden furniture.

Golden and creamy massaman lamb shank curry is served with rice and pickles. Photo courtesy of BKK Thai Restaurant

BBK Thai Restaurant offers a varied menu for both savory dishes and sweet desserts, along with many types of wines to go with your meal. You can relish classic Thai favorites like mango fish salad, spicy papaya salad, Tom Yam Koong spicy prawn soup, and red or green curry. If you're dining with a group, there's an enticing Thai hotpot set for a communal dining experience.

BKK Thai Restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m to 2 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the evening. Prices range from VND43,000 to VND682,000 ($1.83 to $28.99) per dish.

The Racha Room Restaurant

The Racha Room is a stylish and cozy Thai eatery serving both Thai cuisine and cocktails. It is located at 12-14 Mac Thi Buoi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, and is open every day from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Inside, the restaurant features an elegant setting with brick walls, wooden furniture, and a mural of an elephant. The vibrant ambiance is enhanced by lively music and dazzling lights. The English-speaking staff ensures a comfortable dining experience. The restaurant can host up to 80 guests.

At The Racha Room, diners can unwind and savor cocktails and snacks in a cozy setting. Photo courtesy of The Racha Room

The Racha Room offers a diverse menu featuring Thai dishes and drinks made with fresh ingredients and aromatic spices. Patrons can enjoy from classic Thai favorites to fusion dishes like Angus beef tenderloin tataki, wagyu la lot (betel leaves), and beef short rib massaman curry. The dishes are categorized into four spiciness levels, from mild to fiery, and are advertised to be all MSG-free.

The Racha Room is also known for its cocktails, with signature drinks including Sampan Storm, Sa-Was-Dee-Ka, and Tran Hung Dao. There's also a DIY menu for personalized cocktails. During 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, the restaurant offers happy hour promotions with a 50% discount on cocktails and dumplings.

The Racha Room opens from 5 p.m. till late. Prices range from VND55,000 to VND490,000 ($2.32 to $20.70) per dish, and delivery services are available for those who prefer dining at home.

Som Tum Thai

Som Tum Thai has 13 branches in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, offering the flavors of Thailand in a cozy and modern setting. Its popularity stems from friendly service and prime locations.

All eateries are adorned with wooden furniture, vibrant cushions and patterned floor tiles. Some locations offer large windows overlooking the city, creating a comfortable setting. The staff are friendly and attentive, as they can offer recommendations and cater to special requests.

Som Tum Thai's newest branch in HCMC's District 5 features neon signs. Photo courtesy of Som Tum Thai

Som Tum Thai serves a variety of dishes, spanning salads, soups, curries, and stir-fries. Notable menu items are green papaya salad with deep-fried catfish, two types of tom yum soup - creamy and clear broth, plus grilled pork neck and pineapple fried rice. Many dishes are adapted for Vietnamese tastes, and spiciness can be customized by diners.

Som Tum Thai opens from 10:30 a.m to 10 p.m. Dish prices range from VND52,000 to VND1,036,000 ($2.19 to $43.60) per dish. You can order takeout or delivery via the app for convenience, but note that a few dishes might not be available on the app.

TukTuk Thai Bistro

TukTuk Thai Bistro operates a series of restaurants offering modern and stylish Thai cuisine. With three branches in Ho Chi Minh City, one in Binh Duong Province, and one in Hanoi, they provide a trendy dining experience. The name TukTuk comes from the three-wheeled motorized vehicles that are commonly used as taxis in Thailand.

TukTuk Thai Bistro's interior exudes a cozy and stylish atmosphere reminiscent of Thai eateries. The combination of wooden tables and metal chairs creates a balance between tradition and modernity. The eatery boasts a high ceiling and patterned floor tiles that add to its charm.

Crispy deep-fried whole sea bass is served with sweet & sour chili sauce. Photo courtesy of TukTuk Thai Bistro

Popular dishes include green curry with prawns and palm heart, green papaya salad with crunchy fluffy catfish and salted egg yolk, deep-fried whole sea bass with sweet and sour chili sauce, and tom yum fried rice with prawns and mushrooms. The menu also offers vegetarian options, along with a selection of desserts and signature Thai drinks.

TukTuk Thai Bistro opens from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Prices range from VND50,000 to VND315,000 ($2.10 to $13.20) per dish.


For a taste of modern Thai cuisine infused with creative twists, ANH TUKK is worth considering. Situated at 74 Hai Ba Trung Street, District 1, HCMC, the restaurant provides a peaceful retreat from the city’s buzz.

Housed in a mid-20th century French building, the eatery boasts a classic and luxurious interior and exterior. ANH TUKK offers various spaces to accommodate private dates or large family gatherings.

An ANH TUKK meal with Thai cuisine and cocktails. Photo courtesy of ANH TUKK

The menu balances traditional Thai flavors with inventive combinations and presentation. Guests can savor dishes like duck larb with crispy duck skin and iceberg salad, spicy oxtail soup with heirloom vegetables, massaman beef with peanut curry and purple sweet potatoes, grilled honey pork ribs with vegetables, or crab fried rice. The menu also boasts a diverse desserts and drinks selection, encompassing wines and innovative cocktails.

ANH TUKK provides event services with varied menus and service choices. Their seated course catering menu suits intimate dinners, large parties, or weddings, offering a chef-like experience or full-service catering with tables, tableware, and decorations as needed. They even tailor buffets for any event size or budget.

ANH TUKK opens from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Prices range from VND25,000 to VND695,000 ($1.05 to $29) per dish.

Somtam ZAAP

Somtam ZAAP is a restaurant chain that takes its name from the Thai words for "papaya salad" and "delicious." Som Tam ZAPP's goal is to establish a lively and welcoming atmosphere that allows patrons to immerse themselves in Thai cuisine, particularly from Thailand's ISAN region.

The brand operates in two locations in HCMC: 136 Pasteur, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, and 70 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Ward 6, District 3. Both venues have a minimalist design, ideal for small groups. The space features warm brown wooden chairs and tables, creating a cozy and comforting ambiance.

Somtam ZAAP provides vegetarian versions of well-known dishes like tom yum soup, pad Thai, and papaya salad. Photo courtesy of Somtam ZAAP

Somtam ZAAP has received the Thai Select Classic certificate for three years straight from the Thai Ministry of Commerce. Led by Thai chef Pracha Un, whose culinary experience spans from long-standing eateries to Michelin-starred establishments, the team strives to capture Thai flavors and presentation, while keeping ingredients true to their origins.

Some standout dishes to try include the spicy papaya salad with minced fried catfish, deep-fried duck eggs with tamarind sauce, grilled coconut milk marinated pork skewers, and tom yum soup with shrimp. Somtam ZAAP's use of locally sourced ingredients like vegetables and mushrooms, combined with various Thai spices, has also led to the creation of a vegetarian menu to cater to a wide range of diner preferences.

Somtam ZAAP opens from 10 a.m to 10 p.m. Prices range from VND85,000 to VND255,000 ($3.55 to $10.60) per dish. Diners can order takeout or delivery via the app for convenience.

Am Dang Typhoon Vietnam

Am Dang Typhoon Vietnam is a Thai cuisine restaurant known for its seafood specialties, including shrimps and crabs. Found at 23 Dong Khoi Street in District 1, HCMC, it comprises two sections: a Thai street-food-stall-inspired noodle station and a main dining area blending Thai and Chinese cultural colors, with a spacious atmosphere enhanced by a high ceiling and greenery.

The Saigon branch originates from the acclaimed Am Dang Typhoon in Thailand, recognized by the Michelin Guide in 2011. Recently, Am Dang Typhoon Vietnam achieved the prestigious Thai Select Signature in the ThaiSelect program, ensuring authentic Thai flavors.

The spicy crab comes with ample fried garlic and chili, presented in a distinctive tray resembling a temple gate. Photo courtesy of Am Dang Typhoon Vietnam

The eatery is known for its signature spicy crabs. Guests are encouraged to sample other dishes such as stir-fried crab curry, stir-fried clams with chili paste, potted river prawns with vermicelli or prawns in seafood sauce and wasabi.

Am Dang Typhoon Vietnam opens from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The prices vary between VND120,000 and VND370,000 ($5 to $15.40). Certain seafood dishes are subject to market prices, thus it is advisable for visitors to inquire before placing an order.

Kin Dee - Thai Gastropub

Kin Dee - Thai Gastropub is a restaurant in HCMC that specializes in authentic and modern Thai cuisine. It is located at 39A Co Bac Street, in the heart of District 1. The name Kin Dee means "eat well" in Thai, and that is what you can expect from this place.

Nestled in a quiet alley, the restaurant features a stylish design. The spacious dining area is adorned with wooden furniture and Thai decor, while neon lighting adds to the inviting atmosphere. A modern bar area offers drinks and snacks, complete with a stage for weekend live music and DJ performances.

Notably, Kindee offers a distinct atmosphere from the establishments mentioned earlier, catering more to adults and larger groups rather than families or children.

Kin Dee - Thai Gastropub provides a cozy ambiance. Photo courtesy of Kin Dee - Thai Gastropub

For newcomers, recommended dishes at the eatery include Thai-style shrimp pancake, spicy chicken wing, chef's selection skewers, and Thai salad with pork rolls, corn, yam bean, and fried shallot. The restaurant also provides an extensive selection of alcoholic beverages that complement the cuisine, creating an ideal setting for weekend gatherings with friends.

The restaurant is open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Prices range from VND89,000 to VND169,000 ($3.70 to $7) per dish. The restaurant is currently undergoing maintenance and will reopen soon.

Story by Phuc Trinh