Travelling is the passion always. During travels, exploring cuisines is a part of the foodie tourism. The visit to Ho Chin Min city (Saigon) was well rewarded, with respect to the foodie in me. Being a vegetarian friendly cuisine, Vietnamese food travel was fun and enjoyable.
In Ho chin min city (Saigon) we had a friend who happily guided us for our exploration. the magic word Chai from the boatwomen made a lot of diffrence to our whole trip. “Chai” was quickly the password and worked like magic. He also joined us on our food trail to show us a beautiful calm place tucked into the business districts of the City.
Mandala vegetarian restaurant
The Mandala vegetarian restaurant is an unassuming place when seen from the exterior. The smiles of the waitress and the musical chanting in the background instantly calms you from the myriad war images you would have seen during sight seeing through the day.
The layout of this vegetarian restaurant is simple, with ample colors from the cushions simple decor. Mandala designs of various types and colors adorn the walls, emphasizing the name. Straight backed chairs and a few memorabilia for sale makes up this restaurant.
Backed up with some warm tea (welcome) and the menu we settled down. The cuisine being completely vegetarian, meatless and seafood free was quite exciting. The flavours lean heavily towards Tibetan cuisine, with a few Asian influences too.
The pictures in the menu and explanation in English, it was easy to skim through the menu to decide what we want.
We were famished, and our orders flying faster than ever before.. The waitress couldn’t speak English and hence was a bit confused. Luckily, the pictures in the menu came to the rescue.
Our orders were exececuted quickly.
The deep fried squash blossom as done with a crunch and the spicy orange hot chilli sauce just perfect combo.
The rice paper rolled spingrolls came along with a “fishless”clear sauce. The spring rolls were quickly devoured by the children.. It was interesting to taste the spring rolls with the clear sauce as this was our first time trying a fishless clear dipping sauce.
Along came the drinks of coconut smoothie and some fresh juices. The juices were fine. The coconut smoothie was a fun twist. I honestly expected it to have just coconut milk and coconut water, however, it really had the coconut meat pulsed in too giving it a dense and fulfilling feel.
Now to our mains.
We had chosen three dishes to share amongst ourselves.
The fried rice noodle with a vegetable sauce was the first dish on our table. This was the highlight of the mains I should say. Perfect shaped triangles of rice noodles.. Somewhat like a fried pancake cut, had a crispy exterior and was soft inside. The gravy which came along was rich in mushrooms and Asian veggies. It had a rich dark sauce with a significant earthiness from the mushrooms. It was not creamy, or heavy. The simple tossed greens and cabbage salad as more than a garnish providing a extra layer of healthy crunch to the dish. We simply loved this dish and it’s presentation.
For some familiarity we chose pineapple fried rice. The rice came in a small black ceramic pot. Lightly flavoured fried with crunchy bits of rice in it it has a great mouth feel. Unfortunately , we didn’t get any pineapple flavour in it.
The third dish of choice was a Singapore style thin rice noodles. This dish had its freshness from the wok fried veggies, The turmeric color opposed by the fiery red of the chilies and the green of the snap peas. It has a deep Asian feel with an underlying heat. The noodles perfectly done all added to a great dish.
You could also try out the 5 color vegetarian rice, or the wonderful array of salads. Have to say the food was finger licking good and the experience classy. The dishes served here are well priced and pocket friendly- perfect sitting down at dinner with friends and family. Well done Mandala !!
A couple of recommendations that we have is
1) to improve the plating style of the dishes
2) to have someone who can guide in English and knows the food well to help though the new style of cuisine.
To all those in Ho chin min city , looking for a vegetarian /vegan restaurant, don’t miss this place.
The restaurant details
The place is open from 7 am to 10 pm all days of the week
10 Suong Nguyet Anh, Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam
Contact for bookings ahead:
+84 8 3926 0638
Please check out reviews for other places to suit your travels