Shrimp at Quan Khoi: The Best Seafood Restaurant in HCMC
Ok, seriously? This is 1/4 of a shrimp,
and it’s bigger than a soy sauce bowl.

Let’s get hyperbolic about seafood!

[NOTE: this is NOT my go-to place for fish hotpot… that’s a story for another post!]

There are an awful lot of quality seafood restaurants in Saigon, and, obviously, I haven’t eaten at all of them (I think such an undertaking would take years, even if you ate at one per day).

And frankly, I don’t think I’ll have to try any more. Quan Khoi is just that good. Thanks Ray and Skye, I owe you guys one. It’s the best seafood restaurant in HCMC.

I was first introduced to this magical place last year, and it used to be located in Tan Binh District to the NW (which its wetnaps still identify as home).

Recently, however, it took it upon itself to up and move much, much closer to my house, which can only be considered a win for all involved (well, for me, certainly).

There are 5 great reasons that I’m pledging my loyalty to Quan Khoi:

  1. It has shrimps as big as my forearm.
  2. There’s this dish where they fry the fish, then fry the bones after you’ve eaten the fish. It is DIVINE.
  3. Prices are reasonable, and they seem to understand my very, very broken Vietnamese almost all the time.
  4. The fried rice uses broken rice (com tam) and it is the perfect combination of oil and crunch… but not too much of either. Craveable. Do order with the garlic morning glory.
  5. There is frequently a box of kittens in the restaurant.

Even if I kept looking for a better place, I’m not sure such a search would be a worthwhile use of my time – why bother, when I’ve got truly exceptional staring at me off the plate?

Their newer and much more accessible (for foreigners) location is inside an alley on Le Van Sy:

Look for the red, black, and green sign proclaiming Quan Khoi, and enter the alley (it’s on the SW side of the street). The restaurant is the first business on the left, and parking attendants will park your bike for you shortly after you enter.
Shrimp Quan Khoi: The Best Seafood Restaurant in HCMC
I’m not a fan of tabletop gas stoves (because, ugh, so hot already), but this dish was a win. Raw shrimps (of the standard variety), are cooked quickly in broth with carrot, onion, butter, and cilantro – a great addition to the fried garlic or seafood rice.
Fried Fish at Quan Khoi: The Best Seafood Restaurant in HCMC
Here’s this beauty, and it’s the star of the show: Ca Ba. Even the massive shrimp are a side dish compared to this fried piece of heaven. The flesh is absolutely divine – perfectly done, not too salty, and plenty juicy. It’s big enough for a few people to share, but you won’t get much (honestly, I could probably eat a whole one of these).
After the fish is finished, ask them to fry the bones – DELICIOUSTOWN. They taste like potato chips!

Scallops and tofu mixed with vegetables make this another fantastic pairing for the fried rice.Particularly the tofu – it’s phenomenal. A fluffy, blissed-out cloud of curd-y pleasure.

Snails at Quan Khoi: The Best Seafood Restaurant in HCMC

Oc Huong means frangrant snails, and these (rather expensive) delicacies are presented in garlic, a little broth, butter, and lemongrass. I’m not usually a huge snail eater, but I make exceptions for this. Because of the price, best shared among a group. I mean, who can eat a kilo of snails by themselves?

Don’t answer that. If you can, I don’t want to know.

Shrimps Quan Khoi: The Best Seafood Restaurant in HCMC

The piece de resistance is this crazy pair of shrimp, though, which aren’t even on the menu. Going here with Ray has its benefits, as he’s such a regular that the owners go out of their way to love on him with extra dishes.

These shrimps were the biggest, craziest shrimps I’ve ever seen. We had to saw each one into quarters, and that was still like the size of 3-4 regular jumbo shrimp. It was an interesting experience, because with these you get a texture and toothiness that regular shrimp are just too small to have much of.

Quan Khoi: The Best Seafood Restaurant in HCMC
Good times, good times. Thanks again for the recco, Ray, Phoung, and Skye!

Overall, a really great place to spend a weekend evening, and reasonably priced. Although some of the dishes can get pricey, they are ok for an occasional celebratory meal, especially if you’re looking to make a memorable food occasion for yourself!

What do you think? What’s your favorite seafood place in Saigon, and what should I order there?