Baby Mustard

Ratings don’t usually lie.  For ten days, we ate our way through some of the restaurants rated best in Hoi An, and the restaurant rated #3, Baby Mustard, had so far eluded us.  The restaurant lay beyond walking distance from our hotel.   Our commitment to trying good food prodded us to get on our bikes – our hotel’s loaners – and follow the directions we’d found on a Google map search.

Biking, we passed rice fields with egrets and fisherman in basket boats working on the water.  Right after we rode over a bridge, we turned left down a narrow lane along the river.  A sign appeared for Baby Mustard Cooking Class.  Is this the restaurant?  A young woman came over and said they did serve food and handed us menus.  (A silent cheer passed between us!)

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Cao Nhu Nguyet of Baby Mustard

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As we waited for the food, we watched the farmers of the Vegetable Village in their fields that border on Baby Mustard.  We saw the cook go out and pick vegetables and herbs and head back to the kitchen.  Were those for our lunch?

We started with cashew spring rolls, followed by a main course of shrimp with peppers, onions and cashews, a vegetable dish of morning glory with garlic, and a bowl of rice.  With drinks and tip the total cost was $11.50.  Was it worthy of the ranking as a top restaurant in Hoi An.  You betcha!

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We talked to our waitperson and host, Cao Nhu Nguyet, about her university studies in banking, farming, and restaurants.  She took us on a tour of the extensive vegetable gardens by the restaurant and gave us a leaf to try from each variety.  We recognized some as familiar, like Thai basil and lettuce, but others are dissimilar to the American vegetable by the same name, like spinach and mint.   The tastiest?  Baby mustard, of course.

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Palm fronds covered and protected newly seeded plots to prevent hard rain from washing away the seeds.

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Watering cans

Watering cans

The farmers used the seaweeds from the nearby river as fertilizer that they bury in the ground before plantings.  They also use a mixture of peanut shells and animal manure between the rows of herbs and vegetable.

The farmers used the seaweeds from the nearby river as fertilizer that they bury in the ground before plantings. They also use a mixture of peanut shells and animal manure between the rows of herbs and vegetable.

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Cao Nhu Nguyet knows her farming and knows about good food.  We expect to hear great things about her career in the culinary world in the years to come.  If you’re in Hoi An and want delicious, farm fresh food, you know where to go.

October 2013

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Around-the World - 2013-14, Vietnam and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Baby Mustard

  1. Merrill says:

    Hi guys! We are in Thailand and trying to decide where to go next? What was your Vietnam itinerary and which restaurant listings (website/guidebook) did you use? It seems every time we try to find a guidebook restaurant they’ve closed down! The food sounds delicious and tempting!

    • We ranked both Cambodia and Vietnam higher than Thailand. Our Vietnam itinerary was 8 days in Hanoi followed by the Ha Long Bay cruise, then an overnight train to Hoi An, where we stayed 14 days. For guidance on restaurants, we used Trip advisor. Yes, Hoi An was a gem in our opinion. The food was real good, prices very low, and we loved walking and biking in the area. We’ll look forward to see what you choose to do.

  2. dmeyers56 says:

    We visited Hoi An last year and we loved it. If you like biking and you get to Huey, bike out to the Japanese Covered Bridge. It is a wonderful bike trip down country paths. We did not find any great restaurant at the end, but the bike ride was really fun. You don’t need a tour. Just a $2.00 bike rental from your hotel.

  3. Catherine Essoyan says:

    Sounds wonderful and the dish looks delicious!

  4. Thanks for looking at my blog, which then sent me to yours. We ate at Baby Mustard this March and I could not agree more; it is a gem. I miss it and can’t wait to return!

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