tanmedia tanmedia posted February 15th, 2012 at 1:58 pm to Ask ANH Discussions. Viewed 340 times. Answered 51 times.

I'm looking for decent Japanese food in Hanoi. I lived in Japan for more than 10 years, so I guess I'm a bit fussy. Most of what I've had in Hanoi has been over-priced and heavy handed. My benchmark is The Sushi Bar in HCM, which I thought was very good for the price.

Last answered by TBBle about 84 months ago.

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blairgillmith wrote on February 15th, 2012 at 2:42 pm



Its borderline, but I don't think think this is quite the place for your question. If you want to know what other NewHanoians think about Japanese restaurants in Hanoi, read their reviews. If you are really enthusiastic, you could start a group dedicated to fellow Japanese food lovers.

I've written reviews of a couple of Japanese places. So have many many other NewHanoians. To ignore the reviews and ask people to repeat themselves on another part of the site just seems like... useless clutter. You already know which places expats recommend, they've told you in their reviews. As they should have.

For future reference, you should also be more specific in your questions. I'm not sure exactly what you want me to tell you - and I have never heard of the "Sushi Bar" you use as your "benchmark".

Don't think I'm not answering your question - I've used hundreds of words answering your question. You'll find it in Top Spots.

blairgillmith wrote on February 15th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

If you did start a group I'd join it... But after my previous answer that's probably not much of an incentive.

As my dad wrote on the concrete of our bore - oh well.

mimilikestea wrote on February 15th, 2012 at 3:36 pm
mimilikestea (elite user)

Cheap and dericious. My sushi history: I lived in San Francisco for five years, lived a block away from Japan Town and hung out there every weekend and street festival. So probably not super authentic but san fran sushi is goooood.

tanmedia wrote on February 15th, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Hi blairgillmith,

I've read the reviews and have followed up on them by going to the restaurants but been generally disappointed. The Sushi Bar is a chain in HCM and is pretty outstanding for the price (IMO). As opposed to in Hanoi where I've been served udon served in a dashi that is no more than a weak instant mix of powder and water. I thought by posting the question I might be able to get some good recos. Nothing more, nothing less.

blairgillmith wrote on February 15th, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Hi tanmedia, thanks for getting my name right.

I can see that you are in a bit of a pickle. You have looked in top spots, been to some of the places listed there (I'm assuming you haven't been to all of them - there are 50), and haven't yet found one that lives up to your standards of excellence and reasonable price. I'm sorry to hear that.

Despite this, I don't think that your question here is an effective or constructive way for you find sushi recos. Think about it with me for a minute: If someone cares about their favourite sushi joint sooo much that they want to share it with you, why wouldn't they have already written a review about it? And even if they haven't and suddenly feel compelled by your appeal to share its name and why they like it, wouldn't it be more helpful to the community as a whole for them to write a review instead of telling you on Ask A&H?

This site, your questions and any answers you might get are not just about you, not just about now - they are about all the pilgrims who come after you also seeking the elusive "outstanding and reasonably priced" sushi bar. Categorisation helps people find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Its a good thing! You don't have to trawl through every individual section of the site to find out what knowledge is out there, all the information you are looking for is in one place (in this case 'Japanese restaurants').

As evidence of this, look at the answer you got from mimilikestea. Gracious? Helpful? Absolutely. But Sushi Bar has already been reviewed - 5 times. And it's on the first page under 'Japanese Restaurants'. The vast majority of our knowledge is already out there for you to read... And asking us to repeat ourselves because of your exacting standards is insulting to the effort people have put into reviewing.

If you have tried all 50 Japanese places listed and are still not satisfied, its time for you to do your own research, find what we're all missing, and write the review yourself. You are a part of this community, you really shouldn't trample all over it just to find a place to eat sushi.

And finally, if you were disappointed by all the places I and others recommend, where are your own reviews of them? Come on.

blairgillmith wrote on February 15th, 2012 at 11:48 pm

IMO. Nothing more, nothing less.

NickinNam wrote on February 15th, 2012 at 11:55 pm

How's the pho in Tokyo? Uh, wait, don't tell me here. Nobody will ever be able to find it here. Write it in the Top Spots REVIEWS section of the New Tokyoian website--because, ya know, that's where the recco's are.

I've reviewed a few Japanese places in the reviews section too. Questions like this make people like blairgillsmith, me, and dozens of other people who take the time to do that feel like we are wasting our time, when our intention is to be helpful and provide service.

You have written 3 reviews, none of them about your extensive Japanese restaurant experience.

You can warn people off of the terrible Udon dashi powder tragedy.

I'll bet the pho in Tokyo probably is made with powders too.

blairgillmith wrote on February 15th, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Like I said tanmedia, thanks for getting my name right.

Vegas wrote on February 16th, 2012 at 12:22 am
Vegas (elite user)

Dammit, he's right. I always mentally had him down as blairgillsmith.

tanmedia wrote on February 16th, 2012 at 7:29 am

Cheers blairgillmith,

I did notice somewhere in your izakaya review something about the food (mashed potato and ice cream). Forgive me for trying to dig a little deeper and see if there's anyone out there who might be looking for something a little different. But each to their own. If you want mashed spuds or long-life udon noodles with instant dashi for $7, be my guest.

Yes, I think The Sushi Bar (in HCM) is great food for the price. A good mix of dishes including sushi, nimono, izakaya fare, sushi, and a healthy range of shochus and sakes.

tanmedia wrote on February 16th, 2012 at 7:32 am

Just for the Japanese foodies out there, Sushi Bar in Hanoi has no connection to The Sushi Bar chain in HCM.

Guillaume74 wrote on February 17th, 2012 at 10:06 am

The Sushi Bar (Syrena Tower)
Even if it has indeed no connection with the HCMC Sushi Bar, as tanmedia suggests above, from my experience (I've been there three times now), certainly deserves the description "very good for the price").

@blairgillshmith (sorry, couldn't help it!):
Good rant. Spot on, in my humble opinion...

NickinNam wrote on February 17th, 2012 at 10:14 am

This is all futile unless you go to the Top Spots section and write some reviews.

Especially the OP, whe seems to be more refined and intelligent than the rest of us.

tanmedia wrote on February 17th, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Thanks all for your responses. I guess it was a kind of stupid question. Truth be told, I've been to 6 Japanese restaurants in Hanoi in total. I've found them all rather pricey for the quality of the food served up. But the general opinion seems to be put up or shut up. And that's fair game. So that's what I'll do.

By the way, I recently went to the Japanese restaurant in Syrena Towers (can't remember the name) on the reco of a Singaporean. I ordered the kaisen-don, miso-shru, and a 350 ml bottle of Nigori. The kaisen-don was served up with on rice without vinegar and wet nori; the miso soup was lifeless and begun its life in a sachet; and the nigori was priced to make the margin worth the wholesale price. Bummer. I gave it another shot and went back for a tempura udon. While edible, it's not worth the menu price at close to USD10.

blairgillmith wrote on February 17th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

"Thanks all, it was a stupid question" is enough. You can put the rest of that train wreck post into your upcoming review of Sushi Bar Syrena Towers, Izakaya Yancha, and the four other places you have been to. Someone with your experience and discernment could be such a boon to this community, we're all just waiting for you to prove that you are more than a big mouth in the wrong place.

Now, read my first post. Read it. And do what it says.

tanmedia wrote on February 17th, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Just another issue I've seen with Japanese restaurants in Hanoi is that they tend to mbe a jack-of-all and master of none. I'm aware of a new Japanese restaurant opening in Tay Ho that seems like it's part of a restaurant group in Japan. Odds are that it'll be at the fine-dining scale in terms of price. That will pis off the Kansai folk.

tanmedia wrote on February 17th, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Cheers Blairgill,

I'll be sure to check out the mashed spuds.

khiramoto wrote on February 17th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Dear tanmedia:
I am Japanese. I have tried Sushi Bar in HCM City and I agree with you wholeheartedly (do we use this adverb?). I also liked K-Cafe Sushi in HCM City (but I digress). Please try the following restaurants when you get a chance in Hanoi. (Please do not hold me liable though):
(1) Sushi Dokoro in Tay Ho;
(2) Ky Y in HBT; and
(3) Sushi Tokyo in Hoan Kiem District.
They are reviewed in TNH. Kampai.

maliusmaximus wrote on February 17th, 2012 at 2:00 pm
maliusmaximus (elite user)

This thread is a hair breadth away from being deleted altogether.
The best way as always to get a gauge for different restaurants in Hanoi is to read the reviews:


If you share your experiences by writing reviews rather than posting as a general discussion, the information is much more accessible to site users, and as stated previously, the same information does not need to be repeated time and time again.

tanmedia wrote on February 17th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Cheers Hiramoto. I'm sure your Japanese sensibilities know the good from the bad. Hanging out for some tonkotsu or Kyushu ramen. Any suggestions? I went to Osaka Ramen in HCM but it was terrible. Plenty of salarymen though!

TBBle wrote on February 17th, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I probably went past a Japanese restaurant on either Hoàng Đạo Thuý or Vũ Trọng Phụng the other night, it might be an undiscovered gem, on the grounds that it's not in Top Spots yet.

I'm assuming it's a Japanese restaurant because it was called "The Japanese". Or I think it was, I was concentrating on the road more than the signs.

TBBle wrote on February 18th, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Ouch, I got failed for suggesting a restaurant that's not in Top Spots in a question about restaurants which seems to be seeking one that isn't in Top Spots?

Tough crowd...

satthu_24h wrote on February 26th, 2012 at 11:22 pm

hi, I know quite well Japanese food restaurant in Hanoi,

you can enjoy Japanese food in SUSHIBAR restaurant in Kim Ma street or Xuan Dieu street, food and price are very good I think.

thuhavirgo wrote on February 27th, 2012 at 9:46 am

Why don't you try Khang restaurant in Ba Trieu street (near Vincom Tower). Japanese food is fresh and delicious. I really like it!

satthu_24h wrote on February 28th, 2012 at 12:42 am

how about price? is it cheap or expensive? :P

thuhavirgo wrote on February 28th, 2012 at 10:09 am

ah, expensive. But it's worthy!

satthu_24h wrote on February 28th, 2012 at 10:37 am

yeah, it will be suitable for rich man, LOL ^^

TscTempest wrote on February 28th, 2012 at 6:35 pm
TscTempest (elite user)

This thread is pretty useless, sorry to say. The question is worded badly, and the overwhelming responses answer that adequately.

My benchmark is Gintai Tempanyaki Sushi, Shanghai, but then what would I know, except that such a concept doesn't exist here, sadly.

Talking to local Japanese expats, there are a number of Japanese Sushi Bars around Hanoi. You have several offerings clustered around Sedona Suites with the favorites being The Sushi bar in Serena tower and Oishi, next door to Sedona. I've not been to Oishis, but for what its worth, I did like Fukuzushi in Xuan Dieu.

There are also many, many Japanese restaurants located near the embassy district and near Dao Tan. As mentioned above, there are 50 restaurants listed in Top Spots, and one more I'll be adding shortly.

My point is, instead of stating that you're looking for good Japanese food in Hanoi - which suggests you tried some and more or less written the rest off, or have tried them all and can't find what you want; you might get a better response by offering the insights of your personal experience and discussing the relative merits of one restaurant vs another: which is not normally an element of a Review, nor should it be.

For example, I once looked for an all-you-can-eat Tepanyaki Bar but found zip. There are Tepanyaki Bars here, some good some weeell... but in end effect i stopped looking, but then I didn't look too hard either. What I should have done was what I'm suggesting to you now.

People don't begrudge answers, if they feel that it contributes to making this site, and hanoi a better and easier place to live, but as you may have already discovered, there's a lot of dross to sift through, and a lot of it comes from ill considered questions. Many have asked them, I've asked them, and I'm still learning how to ask better questions.

[Rant over]

TscTempest wrote on February 28th, 2012 at 6:46 pm
TscTempest (elite user)

Of course it should be said, that many of the answers the OP seaks are probably already listed, and discussion in this ~~Best Japanese Resturant in Town~~ which was started abit over two years ago. But then, it could be worth updating with current, up-to-date info...

tanmedia wrote on March 1st, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Actually I am the naughty OP and I never expected that this question would have triggered such a small-minded response from some. Yes, there are some reviews posted on TNH but I think the reviews didn't really tell me what I was looking for as someone with a deeper interest in Japanese food. WTF is wrong with that?

TscTempest wrote on March 4th, 2012 at 4:39 pm
TscTempest (elite user)

tanmedia wrote:
>WTF is wrong with that?

Who's your latest question targeted at?

tanmedia wrote:
>I guess it was a kind of stupid question. Truth be told, I've been
>to 6 Japanese restaurants in Hanoi in total.

People have actually gone out of their way to assist you with suggestions and recommendations inspite of your own admission about this question. in former days you would have been hung, drawn, and quartered, simply for not doing a search of Ask ANH in the first place.

>WTF is wrong with that? [wrote tanmedia] ... May I quote you?

You've sampled 10% of the options. The reviews, as the stand, and not telling you what you want AND you want the rest of us to do the sorting and searching, at our own cost, for you? Don't you think that's asking a bit? that you're having a bit of a lend?

You imply a claim to being an aficionado of Japanese cuisine yet you can't be bothered to do the legwork necessary to identify the gems that might be here, nor do you seem willing to share the benefit of your experience thus far.

On top of that you lambast others for not being as full and in-depth enough in their sharing of information about the local Japanese food scene, for, "...someone with a deeper interest in Japanese food; not to mention that you then seem completely willing to go out on a limb and insult those who offer a response or attempt to answer you question in mostly a helpful way, by pulling the "small minded" card.

The answers are not small minded, they're just not offering up a solution on a plate to you.

Bacchus! I'm sorry the grapes anger you. --- ysmfp.

NickinNam wrote on March 4th, 2012 at 5:53 pm

@OP: I know a great place with Japanese food.



doonadoona wrote on March 5th, 2012 at 11:33 am

You might want to try looking at the local Japanese language guide for ideas. They have lots of ads for restaurants and reviews as well. You can check it out online: http://www.vietnam-sketch.com/ or pick up a free copy at many of the local Japanese restaurants and hang-outs. I can’t read Japanese so I just look at the pretty pictures and occasionally try out a website if it takes my fancy. I also often make small hats from the really colourful pages.

joochian wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 9:44 am

go try the newly opened:


crash wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 1:58 pm

OP, if I may (and I don't mean to condescend as you've no doubt, by now, discerned what I'm about to mention...)

the Ask ANH section is not what one normally expects an expat forum to be. which is a bit awkward, frankly, because it has the look and feel of a general chat forum. but as far as its formal intention, you could say it has a thick layer of data above it - reviews, Top Spots, etc. - that the veteran users insist you navigate first. fair enough. and they're correct, I suppose, if that's a fundamental aspect of how the design is intended. it should also be said, in fairness, that their opinions count - some on here have helped to make this site your one-stop Hanoi info center. on the other hand, I think it's fair to take the view that it ALSO is something of a general chat forum - i mean, if it walks like a duck, and if it talks like a duck... if some others took this view there might be a little more tolerance for the information redundancy that occurs here EVERY DAY, and a little less flaming, and a little less chastising.

perhaps they should have a general chat forum, where us naive users can risk asking stupid questions. just a thought...

budtime wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

It's right here and called "FQA"

budtime wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 2:02 pm


crash wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

thanks budtime, didn't know that existed.

NickinNam wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Bud, you've just sent a gentle, stoner lamb into the wolf's den.

FQA has less rules about flaming than here. It's full contact, within reason.

budtime wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

That was the purpose Nick-:)

tanmedia wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Actually there are some good Japanese language sources/guides that list Japanese restaurants, usually advertisers. None that I have seen critically review restaurants. That is hardly surprising. Secondly, the local Japanese community seems more than happy with what's on offer (at least form what I've heard and seen). The fact that it's similar to their own turf is more important to most of them.

karulisa wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Places listed in Sketch are good enough for Japanese but not for you? do as Nickinnam suggested

synyster_shark wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 5:17 pm

He can't afford that therefore he vents his frustration on local businesses and now local Japanese community. What a snob, enough said.

tanmedia wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Hang on kids. Do you actually know how many Hanoi-based Japanese restaurants are listed in Scratch? 0 to be precise (with 15 others classified as Vietnamese/Asian and 8 as Western). It pays to know what you're talking about. And if actually making an effort to look at your sources makes one a snob, then I guess I'm a class above.

karulisa wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Ow Mai Gawd! Do you know how to read sketch? How about just how to read? Page 63 to 68 in current issue is all about Japanese restaurants in Hanoi.

tanmedia wrote on March 6th, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Oh thanks Karulisa. That's in the print version (you can roll your eyes on cue). Cause if you go to 北部、ハノイ、レストラン on the online version, you'll find nothing.

blairgillmith wrote on March 7th, 2012 at 12:20 am

Jesus Christ.

doonadoona wrote on March 7th, 2012 at 9:35 am

If you’re a bored kitty, check out sketch online through google translate, and you can find the drop-down menu called Directory, then choose North, then Japanese Food. There’s a few there. As in 50ish. Phone numbers for all, websites for a few.

tanmedia wrote on March 7th, 2012 at 10:05 am

Yes, if you go to ベトナム > ディレクトリ > 北部 > 日本料理 ,
you will find a list of addresses and no review.

tanmedia wrote on March 7th, 2012 at 10:07 am

So back to my original comment:

"Actually there are some good Japanese language sources/guides that list Japanese restaurants, usually advertisers. None that I have seen critically review restaurants. That is hardly surprising."

Looks like nobody can provide anything to the contrary.

TBBle wrote on March 7th, 2012 at 10:14 am

As tanmedia has observed, there's no _reviews_ of Japanese restaurants in Hanoi on Sketch's website, but there is a directory, as described by doonadoona. Given the page numbers karulisa gave, that's probably what he or she is referring to in the print version too.

The "Now Open" section also lists a couple of Japanese restaurants in their March issue which aren't in their directory (yet?).

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