As a cheese lover — nay, a cheese addict — I felt it was my duty to visit Le Padam, a cheese bar in District 2, which offers some of the best cheese you can find in Saigon. Owned by a French-Vietnamese couple, Cyrille and Ann, this new and unique French bistro emerged in the Saigon food scene a few months ago with the aim to offer some quality cheese — up to 14 different kinds — in a refined yet simple atmosphere.

For cheese fanatics who find it difficult to enjoy this treat, now there is a new and more-than-appealing option to try.


A stylish atmosphere for a stylish treat



Looking to resemble a rustic French retreat, Le Padam follows a simple style with large wooden tables combined with paintings of French comedy films decorating the walls. However this place welcomes all nationalities: “We don’t want this to be a place exclusively for French people so we try to make everybody feel comfortable here,” the couple said.


There is also a chance to play some board games while enjoying your appetizer. Moreover they organise different events which add a fun plus to the bistro. French films are shown every Wednesday — don’t miss this one.


“We display English subtitles so everybody can come over and spend a good relaxing couple of hours,” says Cyrille.


Let the Feast Begin



The couple rewarded us with a tasting which consisted of a platter of five different cheeses (VND390,000) all from France except a Swiss one — the Gruyere. All cheeses — most of them made from raw milk — are imported from France. “Our supplier gets them directly from the farmers who do an excellent job with the cheese ageing and control,” says Cyrille.


“Nobody imports this quality; some customers come with their Vietnamese wives and say: ‘Taste this, taste this! You can’t find this anywhere else!’” he boasts.


The platter came along with some superior homemade bread (with or without black sesame seeds) for VND40,000, which emulates the French traditional baguette and which has been a success among District 2 neighbours. Harmonising with these two items, we also got some organic strawberry jam from Da Lat.


Since it always takes me a long time to decide what cheese to buy, I was curious to know what led them to pick the winners.


“We can’t choose different types of cheese each time we import them as we have to stick to the license, and the paperwork is so difficult to go through. But little by little we’ll try to introduce some other options,” explains the owner.



Moving from soft to strong intensity we started to gobble up the five cheeses displayed clockwise. The first on the list was Tomme de Brebis — an uncooked pressed sheep cheese from the French Basque region with a bit of a dry but buttery feel in the mouth and a gentle, sweet taste. Then there was Gruyere Suisse, St. Nectaire. This semi-soft cheese dates from the 17th century and is made of cow's milk. It has an aromatic nutty taste with some grass hints. We also sampled an unusual yet delicious Brie de Meaux Beaufort — this cheese, made of raw cow's milk was surprisingly aromatic and delightful with an intense but untiring aftertaste, different from the type of brie we are normally used to.


The last one on the platter was Morbier, a strong semi-soft cow's milk cheese with a rich creamy flavour. As a surprise, Cyrille rewarded us with a substantial piece of Roquefort blue cheese whose strong and slightly spicy richness came through in a single bite. And just before your taste buds go to sleep after such a yummy experience, you still get to feel a pleasant mouth-watering aftertaste which peaks the session.


An exquisite combination all in one bite. — Natalia Martinez


Le Padam Saigon is at 230 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, HCMC

Natalia Martinez

Natalia Martínez is a Spanish girl who moved to Vietnam after graduating in journalism. Having worked for Spain's premier radio station, she is now a freelance journalist and teaches English and Spanish in Ho Chi Minh City. Despite being so busy, she still finds time to share silly stories on her blog and eat ridiculous amounts of cheese.


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