Chef Lily Hoa Nguyen Sparks Vietnamese Culinary Revolution In Dubai | Vietcetera
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Jul 07, 2023
CultureViet Kieu

Chef Lily Hoa Nguyen Sparks Vietnamese Culinary Revolution In Dubai

We met with Lily Hoa Nguyen, the driving force behind Vietnamese Foodies, as she graciously shared her journey and unwavering commitment to bringing the authentic flavors of Vietnam to Dubai.
Chef Lily Hoa Nguyen Sparks Vietnamese Culinary Revolution In Dubai

Vietnamese Foodies is a culinary gem in Dubai, captivating and transporting diners to vibrant Vietnam. | Source: Vietnamese Foodies

Dubai’s culinary landscape has been electrified by the arrival of Vietnamese Foodies, an extraordinary restaurant chain led by the visionary Lily Hoa Nguyen. Since its inception five years ago, Vietnamese Foodies has become a beloved dining destination for locals and visitors, thanks to its authentic Vietnamese cuisine and Lily’s unwavering commitment to excellence.

Vietnamese Foodies stands as a female-led establishment. And Lily’s goal is clear: to make Vietnamese cuisine accessible to food lovers and health-conscious diners globally, “all while maintaining an affordable price point and a smart-casual dining atmosphere.”

Lily Hoa Nguyen, owner and executive chef of Vietnamese Foodies. | Source: Vietnamese Foodies

Her journey in the culinary world began in her native Vietnam and continued to flourish during her time in Paris and Istanbul. When she settled in Dubai in 2016, she recognized a gap in the city’s culinary scene—a lack of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Determined to share the rich flavors of her culture, she started with private culinary sessions, eventually opening her first restaurant in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) in 2018. The overwhelming response led to the rapid expansion of Vietnamese Foodies, with five branches already established and two more eagerly anticipated.

The menu at Vietnamese Foodies is a testament to Lily’s dedication to authenticity and quality. Dishes like the signature phở, meticulously prepared with a 14-hour simmered broth and a choice of beef, chicken, or seafood, embody the vibrant flavors of Vietnam. The vegan spring rolls, served as a delightful appetizer or alongside dishes like beef stir-fried with Jasmine steamed rice, showcase the diversity and deliciousness of Vietnamese cuisine.

Embracing a commitment to freshness, Vietnamese Foodies exclusively utilizes fresh ingredients. | Source: Vietnamese Foodie

“We pride ourselves on our outstanding service, fresh ingredients, and traditional cooking methods that cater to various dietary needs,” Lily told Caterer Middle East in a recent interview. “We are excited to collaborate with entrepreneurs who share our love for great food and hospitality,” she said.

Vietcetera had the pleasure of visiting Lily Hoa Nguyen’s restaurant, Vietnamese Foodies, and experiencing the authentic flavors of Vietnam in Dubai. While we didn’t have the chance to meet Lily in person, her unwavering commitment to bringing these delightful culinary creations to the city was evident in every dish we savored. Lily’s passion for Vietnamese cuisine shines through, offering both locals and tourists a gateway to the rich cultural tapestry of Vietnam through her delectable creations.

Where in Dubai?

If you find yourself in Dubai craving Vietnamese cuisine, you know where to go. | Source: Vietnamese Foodies

As Vietnamese Foodies expanded its reach, Lily maintained a hands-on approach, ensuring a seamless operation throughout the UAE and providing a solid foundation for franchisees. If you find yourself in Dubai and unsure where to satisfy your cravings, here’s the list:

Jumeirah Lake Towers

The journey began with Lily’s authentic Vietnamese restaurant concept, unveiling its first branch in JLT Dubai. Welcoming up to 70 diners, this branch offers a charming blend of indoor and outdoor seating options. Fret not, you won’t need a reservation, and the restaurant can accommodate groups of up to 12, fostering a warm and inclusive dining experience.

Downtown Dubai

Vietnamese Foodies’ Downtown Dubai branch | Souce: Vietnamese Foodies

Have you ever dreamed of savoring a delicious meal while marveling at the breathtaking view of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world? Located on the Boulevard of Downtown Dubai, Vietnamese Foodies can turn your dream into a reality! This dining spot boasts an open-concept kitchen, a dedicated roastery, and an enticing selection of unique dishes. Complimentary parking is available in Burj Vista’s designated restaurant parking area.

Time Out Market Dubai

Vietnamese Foodies’ Time Out Market Dubai branch | Souce: Vietnamese Foodies

Discover a taste of Vietnam within the lively corridors of Souk Al Bahar, an Arabic-themed marketplace that evokes a sense of wanderlust. Vietnamese Foodies’ third branch finds its home in Time Out Market Dubai, aptly named “Sailor’s Market.” Here, culinary enthusiasts can relish a curated menu showcasing classic Vietnamese favorites and delightful specialties, serving as a culinary oasis in this vibrant marketplace.

Nakheel Mall Branch

Vietnamese Foodies’ Nakheel Mall branch | Souce: Vietnamese Foodies

The fourth branch is located in Nakheel Mall on The Palm Jumeirah, an enchanting island shaped like a tree. With a seating capacity of 60, this branch features a private dining area accommodating up to 8 people. The restaurant's layout includes a salad bar, a dedicated pho stove, and an inviting open kitchen, allowing guests to witness the culinary artistry firsthand.

Dubai Hills Mall

For those seeking a warm beverage, a visit to the Dubai Hills Mall branch is a must. Since its opening in August 2022, this branch has delighted guests with Vietnamese Foodies’ “Vietnamese Coffee Affogato.” As the largest branch in the chain, it caters to families with engaging workshops and activities tailored for children. Through the transparent glass pane windows, diners can observe the culinary mastery behind the scenes, heightening the anticipation of the delectable dishes.

Unleash Your Inner Chef

From the art of rolling fresh spring rolls to mastering the balance of flavors in traditional Vietnamese soups, these meticulously designed workshops cater to all skill levels and ages. | Source: Vietnamese Foodies

Curious about how to make those delectable fresh spring rolls? Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to recreate the vibrant flavors of Vietnamese cuisine in the comfort of your home? Look no further than Vietnamese Foodies’ captivating restaurant workshops. Designed to satisfy your culinary curiosity, these workshops provide a hands-on experience where you can learn the secrets behind crafting authentic Vietnamese dishes.

From the art of rolling fresh spring rolls to mastering the balance of flavors in traditional Vietnamese soups, these meticulously designed workshops cater to all skill levels and ages. Under the expert guidance of seasoned culinary instructors, delve into the world of Vietnamese cooking, gaining invaluable knowledge in nutrition, food safety, and essential kitchen skills. Get ready to unleash your inner chef and embark on a culinary adventure that will leave you with the skills and confidence to create your Vietnamese masterpieces at home.

Vietnamese Foodies continues to leave an indelible mark on Dubai’s dining scene. | Source: Vietnamese Foodies

Vietnamese Foodies’ dedication and talent have been recognized through a series of prestigious awards. In 2018, they received the ‘Best Newcomer’ award and were runner-up for the ‘Best Southeast Asian’ restaurant at the JLT Dining Awards. The following year, at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards, they were highly commended in the ‘Best Asian Restaurant’ category and won the coveted ‘Best Budget Restaurant’ award. This trend continued in 2020, with Vietnamese Foodies receiving high commendations in the ‘Best Asian Restaurant’ category and winning the ‘Best Budget Restaurant’ award once again. The restaurant also received high commendations in the ‘Best Budget Restaurant’ category at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2021. Their most recent one, Vietnamese Foodies, won the ‘Best Asian Restaurant’ category at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2022.

In addition to these recognitions, Lily was featured on Caterer Middle East’s Women in F&B Power List in 2022, recognizing her significant contributions to the culinary industry.

Vietnamese Foodies continues to leave an indelible mark on Dubai’s dining scene, solidifying its position as a culinary gem that delights the senses and transports diners to the vibrant streets of Vietnam.