Living in modern Saigon filled with towering buildings, sometimes people want to go back to where their memories live. Expat Vietnamese who return to the homeland yearn for familiarity. And Di Mai restaurant, with its nostalgic Saigon décor and rustic dishes, fulfills this desire.
The bold, old Saigon space
In the minds of Vietnamese, especially those who now live elsewhere, the cuisine of home is housed in a nostalgic, countryside space. At Di Mai, the reminiscence of a peaceful countryside is in every dish. The décor is a combination of rural countryside and modern, Indochina architecture. This sophisticated space reminds diners of the good old Saigon streets.
At both addresses of Di Mai (136 – 138 Le Thi Hong Gam District 1 and L02-03, The Landmark, 772 Dien Bien Phu, Ward 22, Binh Thanh) the 1960s’ “Pearl of The Far East” seems to reappear. Familiar sights include the garde manger (pantry in French), noisy Lambros (Vietnamese auto rickshaw), flat bamboo baskets, and empty guigoz milk cans to store kitchen utensils. The rustic vibe also comes from the colorful, patterned floor tiles that every house used to have – memorable for children of the 1980s and ‘90s.
Rustic food that is truly Vietnamese
Old memories are conjured in this space. Di Mai not only drives you back in time but brings you from South to North with diverse dishes belonging to three regions of the country. These include Quang noodles, La Vong grilled fish, braised fish, grilled meat noodles, and sour soup. Eating at Di Mai makes you feel like you are enjoying a peaceful, home-cooked meal. The meal is full of dishes – soup, and items that are braised and fried.
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