Vietnam eateries make world leaders go chopsticks

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Traditional Vietnamese cuisine has bowled over every type of visitors, including the world’s top leaders.

Cuc Gach Restaurant

Obama walks out of Cuc Gach restaurant after an hour-long dinner. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Obama exits Cuc Gach Restaurant after an hour-long dinner. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Cuc Gach, a countryside-inspired Vietnamese restaurant in Saigon, welcomed former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle for dinner on Tuesday.

The two ate stir-fried Tonkin jasmine flowers with garlic, stewed pork, spring rolls, and Vietnamese sour soup – typical local delicacies.

Cuc Gach Restaurant. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Cuc Gach Restaurant. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Cuc Gach boasts a décor that reflects the country’s tranquility while the furniture is characteristic of a traditional Vietnamese home.

Starting at VND85,000 ($3.7) a dish, the restaurant on Dang Tat Street in central District 1 has also been graced by A-list Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Backstreet Boys.

10 Ly Quoc Su Restaurant 

[Caption]President Moon Jae-in, his wife Kim Jung-sook (left) and their staff had pho with beef for breakfast. They ordered the special version (VND150,000 =$6.5) that has more high-quality beef in larger quantity than an usual portion. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

President Moon Jae-in, his wife Kim Jung-sook (left) and staff members enjoy beef pho breakfast, priced at VND150,000 ($6.5). Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook started their last day in Hanoi last year with the hands-down iconic pho at 10 Ly Quoc Su Restaurant in Hoang Minh Giam Street, Cau Giay District. The two ordered two bowls of beef noodle soup they spiced up with a sprinkle of lime.

Pho has earned its place in the Oxford English Dictionary for its unmistakable taste and legacy.

Bill Clinton’s historic visit to Vietnam in 2000 also included a bowl of delicious pho at Pho Co Restaurant near the Temple of Literature in Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. In Saigon, the couple ate at a pho shop near Ben Thanh Market in District 1.

Banh Mi

Turnbull ate the banh mi sitting on a sidewalk stool. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh.

Turnbull ate the banh mi sitting on a sidewalk stool. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh.

When Vietnam hosted the APEC summit in Da Nang in November 2017, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull grabbed himself a VND10,000 ($0.43) banh mi from a street vendor.

Banh mi, Vietnam’s iconic street food, is a baguette stuffed with anything from grilled pork, chicken, cold cuts, and cucumber slices, to cilantro, pickled carrots, liver pâté, and a swipe of mayonnaise and chili sauce.

Turnbull and chef Luke Nguyen, an Australian of Vietnamese origin, bought the sandwich while on a stroll, savoring the taste from the comfort of the sidewalk.

Vegetarian Tib Restaurant

Former US President George W. Bush, Laura Bush and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his wife Janette Howard dined at Tib resturant in November 2006. Photo courtesy of Tib restaurant

Former U.S. President George W. Bush, Laura Bush and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and partner Janette Howard dine at Tib during November 2006. Photo courtesy of Tib Restaurant.

In November 2006, former U.S. President George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush dined at Tib Restaurant with then-Australian Prime Minister John Howard and partner Janette Howard.

The visitors feasted on pincers, jackfruit salad, lotus seed soup in coconut, shrimp cakes, and lotus seed tea. The restaurant has since placed these dishes onto a separate menu named after Bush.

Tib, located on Hai Ba Trung Street in central District 1, mainly serves vegetarian dishes that originate from the former imperial capital of Hue. The ambience is cozy and suitable for receptions and gatherings.

Prices range from VND20,000 to 180,000 ($0.87- 7.8) per item. A Bush menu come in at about VND300,000 ($13) a head.

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