Rare Algerian restaurant surprises

(No.9, Vol.2, Sep 2012 Vietnam Heritage Magazine, Advertorial)

I hope all of my readers are doing well. Ho Chi Minh City is a place that makes people feel at ease. I find that almost every day here is like a vacation. There are always things one can find to enrich his life.
By a stroke of good luck, I found another one. As my readers know, I have written about the pleasures of living in this great city as an expatriate. While using the computer at a downtown hotel, I met a lovely Russian lady from Vladivostok who is married to a nice man from Algeria. Together, they operate a great Algerian restaurant in our city. It is ‘Bahdja Restaurant,’ located at 91 Ho Tung Mau Street, District 1 (on the right of the Au Lac 2 Hotel), tel: 01227631261. There are many Vietnamese restaurants in HCMC. There are also numerous Chinese, Japanese or French-themed restaurants here. This is about the only Algerian restaurant in this city.
I was fortunate enough to sample a wide range of different items from a very extensive menu. The tomato paprika salad, with herbs garlic and cheese, was tasty. The minced beef bourek was very similar to the nem rolls we love here in Vietnam. They are deep fried beef rolls with minced beef, herbs and spices. One could make a great meal from appetizers alone.

However, one should leave room for the main courses. The couscous, a semolina pasta, is deliciously served with chicken, lamb or merguez sausage.
The tajines are slow-cooked meat stews. They are delicious. The beef tajine is stewed in apples and prunes. The lamb tajine has lamb, minced beef, potatoes and chickpeas in a delicious garlic sauce. There are so many delicious items, one will run into a dilemma of what to leave out. One’s appetite will be so aroused he will eagerly await his next visit.
The wine selection is first-rate. In addition to a high-class selection of reds or whites from France or Italy, one can choose from high-quality Moroccan wines. Beers of all levels are available as well.
For the individual who doesn’t drink, a wide variety of soft drinks is available.
The couple who run this place are great hosts and quite eager to please all comers. I felt as if I were dining in the home of close friends, rather than in a restaurant.
Try to visit this great place. I’m lucky to have found it. You’ll be glad you did.

By William Sabino
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