If you didn’t know I’ve had a love affair for the country of Japan for as long as I can remember. Over the years, I’ve lived in Japan and regularly traveled there, visiting many regions and planning to continue exploring this amazing country in the future. Currently, I’m based in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, where I found a high-end Japanese restaurant called Sushi Rei. Sushi Rei is very highly-ranked in the city, so I was thrilled to check it out!
After going down an unassuming alley, the street opened up to a contemporary structure. The look of the building alone got me excited to see what was inside.
The beautiful design outside carried on to the interior. Behind the sushi bar was a wall of shingles that looked like the scales of a fish. Well done Sushi Rei. The restaurant is very simply designed with just a few seats at the sushi bar and then one table for private parties. Eating at a traditional sushi restaurant is great because you get to constantly interact with the staff and chef. This creates a warm and friendly atmosphere for your dining pleasure.
The meal began with an amuse bouche which consisted of soybean milk skin and sea urchin. This dish looked gorgeous and was fairly mild in taste. After receiving our first round of sake, which included one sweet (Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 50) and one dry (Hakkaisan Honjozo), it was time for the sashimi. My favorite on this plate was the medium fatty tuna known as Chutoro.
The next item that really got me excited was the steamed egg with abalone and see bream or Chawanmushi in Japanese. This was very hot in temperature, but once it cooled down, the flavor was immense! Complimenting flavors with a stronger taste and smooth texture made me very happy. It was about this time where I had another glass of sake (Kubota Senjyu.) Sampling alcohol is one of my favorite pastimes. I swear I’m not an alcoholic!
Before long, it was time to get into the sushi! We were served about 11 pieces of sushi in total. Their set menu definitely goes the distance. What I noted about the sushi at Sushi Rei, compared with other restaurants, was the use of citrus as well as the quality of the wasabi. The wasabi was freshly ground right in front of us, and oftentimes, the chef would add a slight citrus flavor to the sushi which added a refreshing flavor.
Some of my favorite pieces of sushi included the Otoro (fatty tuna), Kohada (Gizzard Shad) and the Uni. The Otoro and Kohada were bursting with flavor and what I would definitely recommend you take note of on your next visit. I’ve had see urchin many times around the world, and typically, haven’t been a huge fan. However, the sea urchin served at Sushi Rei was the best I’ve ever had! I would eat it again and again!
As expected, the dessert was simple, yet incredibly tasty. Japanese desserts tend not to be overpowering or super sweet, which is great if you want something light after a heavy food marathon. The dessert consisted of Ichigo (strawberry), Beni Madonna (Japanese orange), melon and white wine jelly. A great finish!
From this single dinner, I could see the immense effort that went into all aspects of the restaurant. The design, service, food and beverages were all top-notch. Out of the many many dishes we ate, only a few could have used any improvement, which is quite impressive! If you are looking for high-end Japanese food, with impeccable service and atmosphere to match, I’d highly recommend visiting Sushi Rei in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam!
10E Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Đa Kao, Quận 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone: +84 28 3925 0689