Upcoming Hot Spots in Shenzhen
Shenzhen China has a few hot spots that I love to spend leisure time in and that locals and expats alike are very much familiar with. For instance, most who have lived in Shenzhen for some time will know that Shekou (namely Seaworld) is a great hot spot for the expat community with many international schools, restaurants and community events. Another hotspot that has recently exploded with a great diversity of dining and entertainment is Futian (namely Coco Park). I also love this area because many concept restaurants have come to this area making it a new hot spot for foodies and even expat families.
I believe there is a new hot spot coming up in the Futian area by the name of 1979. 1979 is a classy shopping community built alongside a beautiful lake and surrounded by modern living communities. It is home to quite a few great concept restaurants and has become the spot where restaurant owner Jimmy has chosen to build “Mon Saigon.” Jimmy has been in China for 17 years and is originally from Singapore. He came to China as a fashion designer and worked with a lot of big brands and has designed clothing for many celebrities in Taiwan. He has even worked as the exclusive designer for the golden house awards. When he came to Shenzhen, he fell in love with the city due to the food, the people and the proximity to Hong Kong.
MON SAIGON OWNER, Jimmy
From Designer of Clothing to Designer of Food
As he traveled throughout China, he came to realize that Vietnamese cuisine is very similar to Chinese and that he could introduce a new concept that combines Vietnamese cuisine with a fusion of eastern influence. With his partners, he wanted to create an old European style building and keep the concept around the vintage days of Saigon. Hence, the concept of “Mon Saigon” was born. When you think Saigon, you’re brought back to the war times of the 1960s where what is now Ho Chi Minh was named Saigon. In Saigon, fusion food became prominent due to the high influx of international soldiers and residents who could not find their home ingredients in this new country. This means that a French dish would be fused with Vietnamese ingredients to create something with a slight fusion. Mon Saigon takes this concept and combines Western and Asian flavors making a menu of items that are unique in flavor yet traditional in nature. Mon Saigon stands alone as a concept restaurant with a unique ambiance that brings you back to the vintage era of the 1960s.
Bringing Vintage Fusion to Futian
The building itself was built to be a vintage European style building with the interior having a welcoming feel. When I first walked into Mon Saigon, I fell in love with the concept (being a lover of vintage concepts myself). The staff are dressed in attire that resembles the Saigon era and the walls are created with a stone/concrete look. Many long tables are available to help influence the concept of sharing multiple dishes. The restaurant is indeed a theater and every floor has a different atmosphere having its own unique concept. The bottom floor is more of a loud eating area with a full stage featuring live bands and a full bar. You will also find the restrooms are – themselves – created with a vintage feel. The middle floor is a more quiet and personable area with a dessert and coffee area and private eating areas. The top floor consists of a rooftop dining experience complete with a sky bar, perfect for those who want to relax with a drink or smoke. Due to this fact, the top area is closed off to children as Jimmy feels that they should not be in such an environment – and I totally agree with this.
“I consider myself a food director, and when you come into Mon Saigon, your part of a vintage production consisting of food, atmosphere and personalities from the Saigon era” – Jimmy, OWNER
Every month there is a party on the rooftop floor where the staff dress in different vintage attire and guests are asked to dress the same (black tie/white shirt style). You truly step back in time and find yourself part of the show in these type parties.
Fusion foods that break laws.
At Mon Saigon, the concept of the Saigon fusion culture is taken very seriously and traditional dishes are fused with western and Asian cultures breaking laws that should not be broken, giving a lot of freedom to the chefs. Due to this fact, many chefs want to join the kitchen at Mon Saigon once they learn that they can be free to try different fusions and step outside the traditional concepts. If you are looking for authentic dishes, this is probably not the place for you to go as all authentic recipes are thrown out the door here. If you are looking for a unique experience with combinations you’ve never thought about, you owe it to yourself to give them a try. When I first checked out the menu, many items did not make sense to me but the flavors turned out amazing. You may see a traditional style Italian Pasta topped with curry from Singapore, which sounds crazy but has an amazing flavor and taste.
My first item here was actually a strong Vietnamese style coffee that when brought out to the table, consisted of a wine glass with a strawberry garnish filled with a ball of frozen milk. The Italian coffee (hot) was brewed Vietnamese style and was slowly poured over the ball of milk until the cup was halfway filled. I was told to stir it similar to a wine to let the milk slowly dissolve into the coffee. This is by far one of the most unique coffee experiences I’ve ever had. At Mon Saigon, Jimmy wants all of his dishes to have a personal interaction where the dishes are explained and prepared in unique ways. I could understand this just with my coffee order. Du La Su ((Duras Temptation) was the name.
My first dish was a noodle dish from Vietnam – semi-spicy and mixed with a stewed American style beef that has been stewed with in-house made chili sauce. Secondly, I tried a unique grilled fried chicken. The chicken was cooked seasoned with lemon grass, grilled, seasoned (again) and then deep fried for a crispy skin.
The third item I tried was definitely something I wouldn’t have thought of. A western style fire grilled sirloin was then topped with a Singapore coconut based chili sauce. It had an amazing taste with a slight kick to it (not too spicy). I found it confusingly delicious and definitely a flavor combination I haven’t tried before.
Lastly, I tried Salmon grilled and topped with a “samba” sauce which is a very popular sauce in South East Asia (Malaysia and Singapore). Samba is a fruit that is then boiled in water until the water takes on a dark color. That water is then used to make the sauce used to coat the grilled salmon. It creates an amazing glaze and flavor that leaves you confused to what you just ate but definitely wanting more.
An Amazing Concept Restaurant for the Futian Area
In the end, I am really thankful to have found this hidden Gem in the 1976 shopping area. Mon Saigon definitely is a restaurant that lives in the past with a unique feel and amazing food. Be sure to try them out when you are in the Futian area.
Monday – Sunday, 10AM – 1:30AM
Place Name: Mon Saigon-梦西贡餐吧
Place Address: Block B，Xiangmihu wenhua Fengqing 1979, qiaoxiangRd (exit B2 Xiangmai North Metro Station) 侨香路香蜜湖文化风情1979B区(香梅北地铁站B2口)
Place Phone: 0755-82703282