Mango Mango is the second of celebrity chef Duc Tran’s three Hoi An restaurants. It continues the tradition established by Mango Rooms – the tradition Duc calls ‘modern Vietnamese cuisine’. Here, the key elements – the sour, the spicy, the sweet, the bitter and the salty are preserved in new ways that are genuinely original with previously unheard of combinations.
Self-described as a lounge bar/restaurant, Mango Mango is a larger space than Mango Rooms and a favorite place to congregate for half-price drinks, especially cocktails, early in the evening. Inside, the feel is festive with orange tables and Caribbean-style paintings and drawings. But the best place to be is the front veranda that draws quite a crowd when the cut-price sundowners are on offer. Upstairs, though, there’s a nifty view across the river to the Japanese Covered Bridge.
While the inspiration is similar to Mango Rooms, the succinct menu is quite different. Nowhere else are you likely to see duck served with passionfruit and chocolate or stir-fried watermelon with chili and rosemary (accompanying tuna).
Some reviewers complain Mango Mango is too pricey. It’s true that by Hoi An standards it’s top end but if, for $20, you can get a dish that is truly ‘one-of-a-kind’, a work of art born from original inspiration, then it doesn’t seem much at all. Sounds like a bargain to me.
Duc’s third Hoi An-based restaurant is Mai Fish, a tribute, in a way, to the traditional Vietnamese cooking Duc learnt from his mother. A fourth restaurant in Da Nang, Fat Fish, is a bold experiment fusing Vietnamese and Mediterranean cuisines.
Add: 45 Nguyen Phuc Chu
Tel: 0235 391 1863