Meet Vietnam’s first craft sake brewery & restaurant. At Mùa, you’ll find quality homebrewed sake with Vietnamese rice, but also iconic Japanese dishes in a Vietnamese jacket. Located in the craft beer hood of Lê Ngô Cát in D3, it’s a place for all young Vietnamese to enjoy “Nhau” culture mixed with Japanese izakaya vibes.
The concept is the brainchild of CEO Na Dai Kang and chef Trụ Lang. Wanting to start from this concept of craft sake brewing in Vietnam with Vietnamese rice, the two met up to hash out this concept. After a bunch of sakés, they came up with Mùa Craft Sake: a brewery & restaurant serving craft sake made in Vietnam alongside iconic Japanese dishes made with Vietnamese ingredients.
And yes, this sake-filled night also became the origin story for the ‘Drunken Fried Rice’ on the menu.
With chef Trụ Lang on board, who also opened Mùa Hoi An in 2019, you’re guaranteed to enjoy local, seasonal ingredients. I nearly fell off my chair when he mentioned that the insanely tender Beef Tenderloin Skewers came from cows in the Mekong Delta. Who says Vietnam doesn’t have quality beef?
Mùa Craft Sake even goes hard on social & environmental efforts, to care for the local environment to (selfishly) be able to serve the best local food. We love this little full circle moment.
So, how did I enjoy the food & sake that celebrate local flavors? Let’s see.
Little disclaimer: Yes, the chef had a bet going that we wouldn’t be able to finish all the dishes. No, he didn’t win. I went into a delicious food coma for you, to review as many dishes as possible. Thank me when you try the food.
Here we go!
What I love about the Flight, is that they mention which sake pairs with which types of food, so you can create the perfect sake + food bite combo at your table. It’s so fun to try out which sake compliments which dishes the best.
Remember when I said chef Trụ Lang reimagined Japanese recipes with local ingredients? Well, prepare yourself for the Bánh mì x Katsu Sando.
You’ve got Japanese-style katsu pork with Vietnamese pickled veggies on that signature toast. In 1 bite, everything comes together. That little layer of patê reminds you of Vietnam, while the softness of the toast and crunch of the meat brings Japanese vibes. You’re tasting two icons coming together to create a new icon. Definitely order this!
Another must-order on the menu is the marriage of the Bánh xèo x Okonomiyaki. Eating it, I just can’t imagine the dishes any other way. The okonomiyaki brings that thick pancake interior, filling you up nicely. The bánh xèo brings that wonderful crisp.
Now you’ll have the thick pancake-y feel without compromising on crisp. Comforting, crispy, filling... a true comfort dish.
I’ll admit, this menu has one issue. There are too many main characters. This review will just be me calling everything a must-order. Bear with me.
I mean, look at this Honey Glazed Duck Breast. Can you blame me? Very tender and just a classy dish. If all the sake is making you feel fancy, I definitely recommend ordering this beautiful dish.
The very kind Chef Trụ Lang noticed we didn’t order any of the raw dishes, so he sent some over. So thankful for that, because you CANNOT miss this Vietnamese Beef Tataki. It’s marinated in dashi (a Japanese broth), served with kumquat and chẩm chéo. I cannot describe how refreshing it is.
I don’t want to repeat myself, but… Must. Order.
Another perfect match in our ‘Raw’ section, is the Butter Fish. It’s nice to see a native ingredient like starfruit really shine in this dish. Gorgeous, refreshing dish.
If you’re only ordering one raw dish, I’d say choose the Vietnamese Beef Tataki. But if you love raw, definitely also try this one.
In all the dishes I’ve shared, there are a bunch of flavors to explore. A nice way to cleanse your palate a bit, is this little bowl of papaya. Packs a big acidic flavor and a great crunch.
The beautiful winged gyoza is definitely a crowd-pleaser. Must advise you, though, these babies will fill you up! And let’s be honest: you can get gyoza in almost every restaurant in JapanTown. I would save your stomach for the dishes that are absolutely unique to Mùa.