70-year-old Saigon eatery serves rice in stone pots

By Di Vy   August 18, 2019 | 08:00 am GMT+7

Chuyen Ky restaurant situated in the heart of Saigon has been serving rice to customers in stoneware pots since 1948.

This family-owned restaurant, in Cu wet market on Ton That Dam Street in District 1, is now run by Tran My My, 50, to whom her grandmother handed it down.

Stoneware pot rice is Chuyen Kys specialty. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Stoneware pot rice is Chuyen Ky's specialty. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

My said she retains her grandmother’s flavors and cooking method, putting the rice in the pot first before adding water and placing it in a multi-level cooking steamer to be cooked by the steam.

This gives the rice more fragrance and the right amount of softness besides keeping it warm longer. The pots were made by a ceramic shop many years ago, and so have the traditional design. They call it chung phan, or pot rice.

People from China's Guangdong Province, according to My, brought the pot rice to Saigon. A portion can come with chicken, red sausage or beef and costs VND60,000 ($2.6).

The eatery is packed with customers in the afternoon. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

The eatery is packed with customers in the afternoon. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Thanh and Giang, both over 60, said they have been eating at the place since it was not surrounded by skyscrapers. "I enjoy eating rice like this though I am not Chinese. I like how they season the food here," Thanh said.

Giang said her favorite dish is ham vi chung hot vit, which is a steamed concoction of drum fish and duck eggs.

Chicken stew with Chinese herbs and sweet and sour pork are two other popular dishes.

Stir-fried pork and mushroom. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Stir-fried pork and mushroom. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

The restaurant also sells regular rice for eating with a wide variety of dishes. Each costs around VND100,000 ($4.3) and serves two to three people.

The restaurant opens from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"Sometimes we run out of ingredients during peak time," My said. "We have to rush to the market to buy the ingredients and come back to prepare the food. No matter what size a restaurant is, customers will come back if it has delicious food."

 
 
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