The war-time secret behind Saigon eatery

Many interesting stories are told in this old broken rice joint, a former secret base of the People's Army in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

Visiting Dai Han broken rice shop at 113A Dang Dung Street, District 1, customers typically feel themselves transported back to the 1940s.

Before 1975, the shop, then named Do Phu cafe, was a secret base of the People's Army overseen by Tran Van Lai. The house had been assigned to Do Mien and his wife Su to sell broken rice and coffee in 1946, but in fact, served to store and transfer letters and confidential documents to the war zone.

broken rice, Saigon, secret, history, war

The Do Phu cafe, now Dai Han broken rice shop, in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Huynh Nhi.

Tran Vu Binh, son of Lai and the current owner of the shop, recalled the birth of the broken rice shop. Before opening the business, Su went with her husband to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on an undercover intelligence mission.

After a few years in Phnom Penh, Su returned to the country with her husband and started selling broken rice. The shop sold meals for workers and gradually became popular among residents in the area, including many Korean soldiers taking part in the war.

Since the cafe was located next to the house of Ngo Quang Truong, an officer of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the opposite side in the war, the couple had to be extra cautious.

"The postman had to wear shoes with a rotatable sole to hide secret mail. When he went into the kitchen of the shop to deliver letters, the owner had to be on guard to prevent others from following and avoid exposure," Binh recounted.

Servings here comprise a blend of Vietnamese broken rice and kimchi, traditional Korean fermented vegetables, creating a unique flavor.

The shop's original broken rice serving includes grilled ribs, roasted pork skin, fried eggs, pickled vegetables and sweet southern-style chili garlic fish sauce.

Since the Korean soldiers were not used to this, they had asked the owner to add kimchi, the Korean-style pickled vegetables.

"At the time, my mother used Vietnamese chili and garlic to make the kimchi, but after the Korean soldiers objected she switched to using Korean chili and garlic," Binh said.

After the war ended, many Korean veterans returned to the shop to enjoy her dish.

broken rice, Saigon, secret, history, war

A bowl of kimchi and a dish of broken rice served at the Dai Han broken rice shop in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Huynh Nhi.

The eatery now offers customers kimchi broken rice like it served in the war time.

Bao Ngan, a customer, said the dish has a name that makes visitors curious, featuring similar characters to the South Korean rice dish bibimbap.

"I was impressed after adding the kimchi and mixing in the fried egg since the taste was truly rich. VND60,000 ($2.6) for a dish is quite reasonable too," she said.

In addition to kimchi broken rice, customers can also order Vietnamese fried churros with coffee for breakfast and take a look at the documents that show the activities of the People's Army soldiers in Saigon.

The stop features in several tours of Saigon.

It is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Customers who arrive by motorbike have to pay an additional VND5,000 for parking.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Late-night eating: a pleasure of Hanoians

Wandering around Hanoi at night, you will stray into another world of the capital city. It is not as busy as during the day time but still lively with restaurants opening late.  The… Read more »

Five gorgeous treehouses for the upcoming summer holidays

Whether you’re looking to stay in a sleek treehouse with modern amenities or a rustic treehouse for an off-the grid experience, these beautiful properties are sure to inspire Vietnamese travelers wanting to appreciate… Read more »

Important archaeological discoveries in Thang Long Imperial Citadel announced

Thang Long Hanoi Heritage Conservation Center and the Vietnam Institute of Archeology have announced new discoveries, which contribute important facts for the research of the citadel. Valuable discovery Dr. Tong Trung Tin, President… Read more »

Top 3 beautiful pristine islands near Ho Chi Minh City

Nothing fancier to be able to leave the crowded city to go for a relaxing trip in a quiet place. If you are busy and can not travel far, then this islands are… Read more »

Tourists drop Sam Son trips amid new Covid-19 cases

Tourists have cancelled their trips to popular Sam Son Beach in Thanh Hoa Province en mass because of Covid-19. Many people cancelled tours to Sam Son In order to boost tourism Sam Son… Read more »

Cai Chanh Military Base recognised as national special historical site

Cai Chanh Military Base in Bac Lieu Province was recognised as a national special historical site on April 29. The house in which Le Duan, then Secretary of the Central Office for South… Read more »

Enhancing tourism development in the new normal state

Domestic tourists visiting Bich Dong pagoda in Ninh Binh province. (Photo: Xuan Lam/ND) NDO – The complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic has left both types of international tourism, inbound and outbound, almost… Read more »

Famous landscapes in Ninh Binh

(Source: VNA) VNA Read more »

15 most preferred destinations among Vietnamese tourists in 2021

Da Nang (photo) is the most favorite destination for Hanoi tourists. Tourists from HCMC are attracted by Lam Dong, Kien Giang. Photo: Shutterstock On April 26, the Tourism Advisory Council (TAB) has announced… Read more »

Five delectable Chinatown snacks

Chive cakes Chinese chive cakes are made from rice flour and served either flat and round or square. Traditionally, rice flour is mixed with warm water, then hand-kneaded until the dough reaches a… Read more »

Check-in to the “chill” destination in Quang

The holidays of April 30 and May 1 last for 4 days, is an ideal time to have long trips, in which Quang Nam is the choice that should not be missed. Quang… Read more »

The picturesque fishing village makes tourists fascinated in Binh Dinh

These days, the young people in Quy Nhon, especially visitors of the northern provinces, are fascinated by the picturesque beauty of Nhon Hai fishing village when coming to Quy Nhon – Binh Dinh.… Read more »

This is one of World’s most beautiful drives you must visit in Vietnam

Hai Van Pass named among 10 most beautiful drives worldwide by the renowned U.S. magazine Travel + Leisure. The travelawaits also names Phu Quoc island of Vietnam among 15 best islands in the… Read more »

Vietnamese food: Sweet popiah

A sweet and crunchy afternoon snack many Vietnamese adults have grown up eating. Sweet popiah is a treat that many Vietnamese adults have grown up eating. The sweet and crunchy sugar candy combined… Read more »

Hanoi works to 'refresh' tourism image to lure visitors

Visitors at the Hanoi Tourism and Cuisine Festival 2021 (Photo: hanoimoi.com.vn) NDO – As one of the country’s tourism markets, Hanoi is rolling every effort to ‘refresh’ the image of tourism to lure… Read more »

Vietnamese tourists pay stronger attention to sustainable tourism

Avani Quy Nhon resort honoured by the golden certificate of Green Growth 2050. (Photo: Booking.com) NDO – According to a survey by Booking.com, one of the world’s leading digital travel companies, nearly 100%… Read more »

Average CPI in 4 months increased by 0.89%, the lowest since 2016

According to the socio-economic report in April and the first 4 months of the year announced by the General Statistics Office this morning (April 29), the consumer price index (CPI) in April decreased… Read more »

Vietnam exported 18.4 billion USD of phones and components in 4 months

Socio-economic reports in April and the first 4 months of the year announced by the General Statistics Office this morning (April 29) showed that the total export turnover reached US $ 25.5 billion,… Read more »

Prime Minister asked to build a specific mechanism to develop Thua Thien Hue as a city directly under the Central Government

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has just directed the promulgation of a number of mechanisms and policies specific to Thua Thien Hue province. A corner of Thua Thien Hue province. Photo: Government Newspaper.… Read more »

More localities suspend festivals as Covid-19 risks loom large

Hai Phong, around two hours east of Hanoi, decided to suspend its annual Red Flamboyant Flower Festival 2021 which was scheduled to take place from May 11-13 to feature 66 cultural, tourism and… Read more »

Dong Nai attracts 18 FDI projects with total capital of nearly 250 million USD

From the beginning of the year to April 20, 2021, the industrial park in Dong Nai province attracted 18 new FDI projects with a registered investment capital of USD 249.23 million and a… Read more »

VNAT attaches priority to ensuring safe environment during upcoming holiday

Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Trung Khanh speaking at the event. NDO – The strict implementation of the Prime Minister’s directions on COVID-19 prevention and control is an… Read more »

Over half of surveyed travel firms expect normal business next year

While 22 percent of the survey respondents hoped their business would recover by the end of this year, the remaining 22 percent did not make any prediction. The survey was done recently by… Read more »

HCMC qualifies for international financial center

At the seminar, leading scientists, industry experts, businesses and organizations discussed the movements of the global economy in the complicated context of the Covid-19 epidemic. One of the topics that were most interested… Read more »

Top tourist destinations near fully booked despite Covid-19 menace

After over a month without a single case of community transmission, many Vietnamese have booked to join tours during the four-day break (April 30-May 3) which marks Reunification Day (April 30) and Labor… Read more »

Which destinations will Vietnamese tourists choose for the National Reunification Day and May Day holidays?

Cat Ba island is also an attractive island destination in recent years (Photo: Booking.com) NDO – According to a survey by the National Tourism Advisory Council (TAB), up to 83% of participants want… Read more »

Boat race festival in Ly Son Island named national heritage

The festival was first held in 1826, according to Ly Son islanders. It aims to pay homage to the island’s ancestral inhabitants and soldiers who have fought for national sovereignty over the Hoang… Read more »

US magazine lists Khanh Hoa resort among world's 30 best

It was the only Vietnamese resort to break into the list compiled by travel advisors for the magazine. Located on Ninh Van Bay in the south-central province’s Ninh Hoa District, around 60 kilometers… Read more »

Can Tho pedestrian street to make its debut this weekend

The pedestrian street on Hai Ba Trung Street along Ninh Kieu Wharf, a top tourist attraction in the Mekong Delta city, will open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Saturday, said Nguyen… Read more »

Brown-shanked doucs in yellow-flamboyant forest of Son Tra Peninsula

The Son Tra Peninsula is one of the famous destinations in Da Nang. Most tourists who love nature and photography visit Da Nang and choose Son Tra Peninsula, regarding it as a destination… Read more »

Vietnam among six travel bubble destinations Taiwan eyes

Following the success of the Taiwan-Palau travel bubble, Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau said it is actively negotiating with Vietnam, Guam, Hawaii, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore to set up similar travel bubbles, Taiwan News… Read more »

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh: FDI sector continues to be an important driving force of economy

At the 2021 Development Bridge Forum with the theme “connecting locality – business, seizing opportunities”, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh highly appreciated outstanding achievements in attracting water investment. In addition (FDI) of… Read more »

Localities scrap crowded events to mitigate Covid-19 risks

Quang Ninh, home to UNESCO heritage site Ha Long Bay, on Monday announced the cancelation of all fireworks displays planned for April 30 to celebrate National Reunification Day and would instead use the… Read more »

Pharmaceutical giants shell out billions to shareholders amid vaccine apartheid

Pharmaceutical giants are growing fat on vaccines the world desperately needs The shareholder meetings begin on April 22 with Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson, followed by Moderna and AstraZeneca in the coming weeks.… Read more »

Da Nang cancels fireworks festival for 2nd year on Covid fears

Le Trung Chinh, Chairman of the city People’s Committee, said on Monday that Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had called for a stop to crowded festivals amid the high risk of a fresh… Read more »

Prime Minister asked to review and amend regulations obstructing investment and business activities

The Prime Minister has requested ministries, branches and localities to review and make statistics on regulations that are contradictory, overlapping, inconsistent, inconsistent, no longer in line with reality in current legal documents, causing… Read more »

Earned more than 1.7 billion USD from exporting masks and protective gear

Exports of protective gear, masks, medical clothing, and home wear will increase by $ 1.4 billion in 2020. In 2020, under the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, textiles and garments are one of… Read more »

Photo contest promote tourism and culture of Khanh Hoa

A beautiful beach in Nha Trang city NDO – The Khanh Hoa provincial People’s Committee launched a photo contest entitled ‘Check in Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa’ on April 26 as a way to… Read more »

50 side-dishes allure night owls to Saigon porridge stall

Trinh Que Lan, 64, and her sister established the 211 porridge stall in 1998. It was initially located on Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street, then moved to its current location at 15 Chau… Read more »

Phu Yen, land of the rising sun

Nhat Tu Son is one of the most beautiful islands in Xuan Dai Bay, about 50 kilometers from Tuy Hoa Town, capital of the south-central province. The island’s name originates from its resemblance… Read more »

Phu Yen, Vietnam land of the rising sun

Nhat Tu Son is one of the most beautiful islands in Xuan Dai Bay, about 50 kilometers from Tuy Hoa Town, capital of the south-central province. The island’s name originates from its resemblance… Read more »

Phu Yen hotel named among world's best

It was the only Vietnamese hotel to break into the list compiled by travel writers and editors of the U.S.-based magazine. The hotel, located in the province’s Song Cau Town, an emerging tourist… Read more »

HCMC scraps Reunification Day fireworks plan as outbreak risks rise

The decision was made by municipal Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong on the grounds of the pandemic situation becoming “complicated” in neighboring countries like Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. “Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has… Read more »

HCMC scraps Reunification Day fireworks as outbreak risks rise

The decision was made by municipal Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong on the grounds of the pandemic situation becoming “complicated” in neighboring countries like Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. “Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has… Read more »

Hanoi ready for national election

NDO – Hanoi is ready for the upcoming elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly (NA) and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure, with preparations having been carried out thoughtfully and… Read more »

Hoi An flowers extend a summer greeting

“Sac Hoa Mua He Pho Hoi” (Summer Flowers’ Colors in Hoi An) is a collection of very recent photographs taken by Do Anh Vu, a resident of the town for 3-4 years. The… Read more »

Aviation department is asking airlines to return unused slot soon

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam has just reported to the Ministry of Transport on the management and supervision of the use of airline slots by airlines. The airline department is asking airlines… Read more »

Hanoi established Steering Committee to build and develop 5 communes into districts

5 districts in the project to district include Dan Phuong, Dong Anh, Gia Lam, Hoai Duc, Thanh Tri. It is expected that 5 districts will strive to go to district from 2022 to… Read more »

President: Vietnam will continue to drastically reduce coal power

At the invitation of US President Joe Biden, on the evening of April 23, State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivered an important speech on the topic “Economic benefits of Climate Action” at the… Read more »

Ho Chi Minh City plans to pilot collection of tax for renting apartments and houses in District 11

Apartment in Res 11 (District 11, Ho Chi Minh City) will be determined by the tax department to determine the rental price for tax calculation Specifically, the Ho Chi Minh City Tax Department… Read more »