Matsuzakaya’s story is that of a cool Japanese restaurant which stands at a corner in one of the alleys of Le Thanh Ton and perfumes its intense magic all around. This is an original and cosy joint in which to enjoy a seriously good ramen, among other assorted Japanese fare.

When I say cosy, I mean a tiny place where there is not much space to spread yourself, and where big groups of people meeting for dinner is not the most ideal dinner plan.


And cosy because the kitchen stands in the middle, vapourising clouds of flavour in all directions — fragrances of curry, pork cutlet, rice, noodles and chicken, which could be translated into something dangerously good. Good and greasy; the kind of grease that doesn’t bother you, the kind of grease that makes you want more.


Ramen Scattering



Among their extended list of options, the popular Japanese noodle soup chashu ramen (VND120,000) was the winner. This comes with plenty of ingredients — noodles, nori seaweed, Japanese marinated soft boiled egg and Japanese braised pork — in a rich broth sprinkled with sesame seeds.


Apparently I’ve been eating ramen wrong all my life. Well, I tried this heavenly dish for first time only last summer. When our photographer, Francis, saw how I cut my egg into small pieces instead of eating it in one bite she immediately stopped taking photos and told me firmly that that was not the way to eat the soup.


“You don’t cut up the noodles and you don’t cut up the egg,” she said. “You keep the elegance of the way it arrives on your plate.”


Another must related to the ramen is to order a set of gyozas or Japanese dumplings (VND50,000). Even though you feel already stuffed with the rest of the meal, go for it. This is just snacking.



The pork cutlet with egg and rice (VND120,000) is also a winner. The breaded cutlet fried with egg melts in your mouth reaching every single crevice with a pleasant sweetness. This is served on a bed of rice as creamy as the pork, resulting in a fulfilling dish.


Don’t leave without trying the fried rice with chicken (VND100,000). Exquisite, smooth and mild Japanese curry with a balanced richness, which when mixed with rice and the boneless crispy chicken is just delicious. — Natalia Martinez


Matsuzakaya is at 17/34A Le Thanh Ton, Q1, 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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