SAIGON BAGEL IS A BOTH A FOODIE’S HEAVEN AND A REFRESHING HIDEY HOLE. IT’S A REFUGE FROM THE BUSTLING STREETS OF SAIGON WHEN THE NOISE GETS TOO MUCH AND THE DESIRE TO TUCK INTO FRESH HOME MADE DELI FOOD IS JUST TOO STRONG.
Andrew sits back, sips on a tiny piping hot coffee, and tells the story of Saigon Bagel.
“With my wife Van we wanted to do something that was good for breakfast, and coffee and we hit on the idea of bagels. Van has a real talent for cooking and we looked at old videos from the fifties and sixties and decided to do it the old school way which is more flavour intensive.”
They still make the bagels in the traditional style which results in a denser, more flavourful bagel than the high street chains. The bagels – 3/400 of them a day - are all cooked in Saigon Bagel's oven over the shop in Thao Dien.
Having cracked the bagel issue they then turned their attention to the other ingredients and spreads and it wasn't long before they were buying herring directly from the fishermen in Vũng Tàu and pickling it themselves.
“We try to use all natural fresh ingredients as that's something we care a lot about. You have no idea how many suppliers we went through before we hit on the right one for our bacon” chuckles Andrew. “We salt our own brine, prepare our own gravlax, and preserve our own sun-dried tomatoes. There are a lot of places doing good food here in Saigon but there's a pressure to serve up novelty. We're happy to do classic with refinements rather than reinventions.”
It's a philosophy you can taste in their two types of hummus, the tzatziki, and soon the red pepper Calabrese that will be the latest new preparation (there are more in the pipeline).
You can check out the menu on Vietnammm, order from the Facebook page, phone on 0909 794 654 or drop by and either eat or order food from the deli to take home. My personal favourite is to sip coffee and chill in the quiet secret garden at their Thao Dien branch but there's a branch in D1 too at 224 Võ Văn Kiệt.
There are other bagel shops, but there's only one real Saigon Bagel and we're very happy to have it so near to us in Thao Dien so if you do drop by you've a good chance of finding Pushpeeps in there – it's pretty much our second office.