A succulent organic duck feast at Vịt Cu Chì Restaurant in the southeastern region. VNSphoto MinhPhi.
Vịt Cu Chì restaurant is a friendly, cosy outdoors spot that has specialised in organic duck dishes for many years in Thủ Dầu Một Town near HCM City. Mỹ Duyên reports.
BY MỸ DUYÊN
If you're a lover of duck (vịt) meat and looking for an ideal place to meet with friends or family, then head for the best duck restaurant in Bình Dương Province, located about 35km from HCM City, for its farm-to-table delicacies at affordable prices.
Located in Thủ Dầu Một Town, the hub of the province, Vịt Cu Chì has been a favourite for duck lovers from near and far for more than three decades.
“When I first ate duck dishes here many years ago, Vịt Cu Chì was only a small country-style restaurant built near a narrow stream,” said a diner sitting near us.
"It has changed a lot with more beautiful wooden interior, furniture and bonsai, but the quality of food and services remain the same. That's why it is crowded with groups of diners during meal times.”
Vịt quay lá móc mật (roast duck with clausen indica) and gỏi vịt luộc (boiled duck served with mixed tropical herbs, cabbage and carrot) are the two standout dishes at Vịt Cu Chì. VNSphoto MInhPhi.
A large parking space with trees in front and small bonsai gardens in the centre create a friendly ambience.
Built like a resort, the restaurant features five country-house style bungalows with earthen-tiled roofs, surrounded by small bonsai. There is no air conditioning.
A colleague of mine who is also a native of Bình Dương said that she and her family often go to the restaurant when she visits her relatives.
Unlike restaurants in big cities, Vịt Cu Chì does not have a menu. The restaurant serves only seven duck dishes with easy-to-remember names – vịt quay lá móc mật (roast duck marinated with clausen indica); đùi vịt nướng (charcoal grilled duck legs); gỏi vịt luộc (boiled duck with tropical herbs, cabbage and carrot); lẩu cháo vịt (hotpot of rice porridge with duck broth; vịt nấu chao (duck stewed with fermented tofu); phá lấu lưỡi vịt (duck tongue stewed with fresh coconut water and five spice-powder) and tiết canh vịt (raw blood pudding served with raw duck meat).
Each item starts from VNĐ100,000 per portion, large enough for two or three persons.
The restaurant is designed with five countryhouse style bungalows with a roof of earthen tiles, surrounded by small bonsai gardens creating a friendly, cosy ambience.
My colleague said:”Though all the duck dishes are fresh and delicious, roast duck takes the centre stage. Two special duck items, phá lấu lưỡi vịt and vịt nấu chao, will tickle your taste buds with its depth of flavour. It is sure to be an unforgettable culinary experience.”
“I'm crazy for its roast duck which delivers special taste and juicy flavour."
As she recommended, I ordered two plates of boiled and roast duck, and a hotpot of rice porridge with mixed sour green salad for a total of VNĐ700,000. I thought it was enough for my four-member family.
However, my son asked me to let him try phá lấu lưỡi vịt which I thought was OK, but I didn't allow tiết canh vịt because I thought it would be unsafe for children.
Tiết canh vịt (raw blood pudding served with raw duck meat) is one of the top choices of those who love to drink alcoholic beverages at Vịt Cu Chì. VNSphoto MinhPhi
Though the restaurant was busy, all of our orders were brought out to the table more quickly than we expected.
Duck is not our family's favourite meat and we never eat or cook it at home, but we wanted to indulge in a “duck feast” outdoors in a cosy atmosphere.
The succulent roast duck was definitely the most impressive. It was served with mixed sour salad and special homemade fish sauce nước chấm lá móc mật, which was recommended by the waitress.
My twins thought the duck skin was roasted to a delicate crispy golden brown colour. “Served warm, the meat is so juicy and delicious. I love the duck and its sauce, too,” my son said.
“I prefer the skin,” my daughter told me.
The roast duck's deeply flavoured skin crackled at the slightest touch and melted in my mouth.
The dish is the No 1 choice of diners at the restaurant.
The boiled duck was also tender and juicy, and served with a special ginger fish sauce and a hotpot of rice porridge.
For generations, Vịt Cu Chì has kept its family recipes secret to ensure that it cannot be copied by anyone else.
With its large parking space and trees in front and small bonsai gardens in the centre, Vịt Cu Chì is an ideal destination for groups or families. VNSphoto MinhPhi
Duck meat at Vịt Cu Chì is like no others we have ever sampled. “One of the reasons is that the restaurant has its own farm to raise ducks to ensure a stable supply of quality organic duck meat,” my colleague told me.
Our waitress said: “Diners can enjoy organic duck meat direct from the farm.
”We don’t feed the ducks much, but we let them find food themselves like fish or paddy rice from our nearby fields. That is why the meat is especially tender, moist and juicy even though it is grilled, stewed or boiled.”
“Our preparation is also different,” she added.
Vịt Cu Chì has maintained its original quality standards and that's why diners keep returning.
Its rice porridge is also very special compared to those we have had. The rice is roasted until light brown before it is stewed with duck broth. The way of cooking makes the rice tender but not starchy.
With the pleasing fragrance from the rice, duck broth, aromatic herbs, and chopped green onions, the porridge was a true delicacy. It was definitely worth trying and an especially good dish for children.
After the hotpot of rice porridge, we were full and satisfied with our meal. If you're like me and not really much of a duck meat lover, take a chance and explore the cuisine at Vịt Cu Chì and you might be pleasantly surprised at what you find. VNS
Vịt Cu Chì Restaurant
Add: 66 Hồ Văn Cống Street, Tương Bình Hiệp Ward, Thủ Dầu Một Town, Bình Dương Province
Phone: (0274) 3825701
Comment: One of the best restaurants in town offers farm-to table duck delicacies prepared in a traditional southeastern manner. Takeaway and delivery available.
Prices range between VNĐ100,000 and VNĐ300,000 per item