Hakka cuisine in Chinatown (Saigon)

China town or “Chợ Lớn”, (i.e Big market) in Sài Gòn has been established in mid of 19th century. Not like any other Chinatown in the world, Chinatown here, like another big town co-existing next to “Sài Gòn”, only until 1931 the two towns merged together to form a single city and we named it Sài Gòn-Chợ Lớn.

We are not talking about the history, so let’s jump to one of our eating places in Chinatown. I heard of this place quite some time ago but didn’t have a chance to visit this famous small Chinese eatery in a typical tiny alley in Chợ Lớn. Truyền Ký, it’s the name of this Chinese House.There is many Truyền Ký in Saigon, but which one is the first one, the original, the best – hard to say.

699d7-truyenky_10Such a good eatery hidden in a tiny quiet residential alley…

Today, judging by the number of guests having lunch, the variety of dishes in the menu, I would say this place could be one of their favorites. When talking to the staff, I learnt that the business started back in early 1950s, now managed by the third generation. the dish they serve is from the Hakka cuisine.

Mostly guests are either local Chinese or visitors from Hong Khong, China, Malaysia, Singapore and few westerners accompanied with the locals…Nearly 2:00 PM, quite for lunch, but most tables still occupied, the ground floor so narrow, enough only 2 or 3 small tables for few customers and sharing with the kitchen, so the waiter quickly took us upstairs. Most customers are frequenters, they order without menu. There is no price in the menu but the price would be reasonable, probably, a bit higher than other places.

0658c-truyenky_3Our four course meal at Truyen Ky House, all of them are just plain delicious…


The first dish we ordered was fried tofu topped with pork meat, deep fried chilli pepper and bitter melon stuffed with some mixture of pork, fish paste served with sour sweet sauce. Very good.

8d71d-truyenky_2Fried tofu covered with filling on top… 


Next one was the grilled pork meat stewed with taro, that could be one of their signature dishes as we all noticed that most tables ordered it. Very tasty, taro is soft, smoothly and richly tasty, the taro is perfectly stewed.

78325-truyenky_8The grilled pork stewed with taro – a signature dish at Truyền Ký. 

Then we were recommended some other dishes : the succulent chicken steamed with salt, the three-colours omelette, deep fried intestine…I was told the chicken steamed with salt is also another specialities of the house.

3e8ba-truyenky_7Beef stirred with sate, a bit spicy, hot, rich sate taste… 

08b4d-truyenky_15Steamed chicken with salt, speciality of the House, it’s good…

ebf0f-truyenky_18Deep fried intestine is quite good, very crispy from the outside…

0faa3-truyenky_19Dipping sauce quite sweet and thick but it goes well with the dish. 

eae93-truyenky_17The 3-colour omelette is actually a mixture of salted, 100-year old eggs with pork meat.

It’s not good if eating in a Chinese place and without the soup. The Chinese soup is something symbolic in Chinese cuisine. I’m sure, if anyone who is a big fan of Hongkong, Chinese TV series is very familiar with the expression “Drink soup for health”. The way they cook all ingredients for hours, so the best is the soup liquid, not meat or veggies.

2c409-truyenky_4Our fourth dish is simple soup with corn, carrot, Chinese date…

bd1ab-truyenky_16we also tried another soup – the black see grass with pork.  

The food is richly tasty, the service is quick, everything is clean, we’ve been here quite late for lunch so not very crowded and not noisy as in typical Chinese eatery, the only thing that I may suggest – it would be better if they could serve the rice in some chinaware with lid rather than in a kind of cold stainless bowl.


If you want to discover what is Hakkai cuisine in Chinatown, please come here. It would be a bit challenge to navigate the place, but nowadays Grab could take you anywhere  easily! The eatery located in a small alley, just off Ly Thuong Kiet street, across the big supermarket Coopmart. Enjoy!

Tiệm cơm Truyền Ký 63/21 Lý Thường Kiệt, P17, Q11, HCMC 

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