ST25 By KOTO: Celebrating The Heart Of Vietnamese Cuisine  | Vietcetera
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Apr 26, 2024

ST25 By KOTO: Celebrating The Heart Of Vietnamese Cuisine 

ST25 by KOTO goes beyond being just another modern Vietnamese restaurant. It’s a symbol of change and a heartfelt tribute to the cherished rice grain.
ST25 By KOTO: Celebrating The Heart Of Vietnamese Cuisine 

Source: ST25 by KOTO

In the words of poet Trần Đăng Khoa, rice is affectionately called, “Our village’s golden grain.” It quietly sits at the heart of every family meal, whether in comforting bowls of steaming rice, soothing porridge, fragrant pho, or rustic delights like bánh hỏi and bánh cuốn. Despite its humble appearance, each grain carries the rich heritage of an ancient rice civilization.

Yet, when Vietnamese cuisine is mentioned, the focus often shifts to bánh mì and pho, overshadowing rice’s foundational ingredient.

ST25 by KOTO - A Celebration of Rice

From its name, ST25 by KOTO proudly declares that its mission is to deliver modern Vietnamese culinary experiences. |

Named after a distinguished Vietnamese fragrant rice variety awarded the title of World's Best Rice twice, ST25 by KOTO exemplifies reverence and appreciation for our “golden” grain. This commitment is also a declaration of its mission: to deliver modern Vietnamese culinary experiences.

The spirit of the rice paddy is not just in the name but infuses the entire ambiance, design, and menu of ST25 by KOTO.

Step into the golden hues of ripe rice

Situated on the second floor of the Sofitel Saigon Plaza, ST25 by KOTO offers a luxurious and warm setting. Wooden furnishings stand out against walls painted the vibrant yellow of mature rice. The restaurant spaces are artfully separated by shutters, evoking the charm of traditional homes.

Source: ST25 by KOTO

The walls are graced with a vivid collection of artwork by Vietnamese artists. These paintings bring to life beloved scenes like the joy of harvest, women busily cooking in thatched kitchens under the glow of firelight, and warm meals shared over bowls of white rice.

The walls are graced with a vivid collection of artwork by Vietnamese artists. |

A Culinary Tribute to Vietnam

At ST25 by KOTO, the essence of Vietnamese cuisine is always center stage, with chefs Heath Gordon and Bảo La skillfully and creatively transforming familiar Vietnamese dishes while preserving their unique flavors.

Guests will discover rustic favorites such as crispy rice, roast pork with bánh hỏi, and fried rice, all presented in innovative and comforting forms. This creative approach is a testament to chefs’ deep understanding of local culture and their profound passion for Vietnamese culinary arts.

Chef Bảo La (left) and Chef Heath Gordon (right) | Source: ST25 by KOTO

True to the spirit of Vietnamese cuisine, ST25 by KOTO emphasizes the use of local and seasonal ingredients, capturing the authentic flavors of the region. Take, for example, the Pomelo Salad (Gỏi Bưởi), inspired by the Mekong Delta and the Central Coastal areas.

This dish combines the finest pink pomelos and sweet coconut meat from Ben Tre. It’s served with premium-picked Ca Mau mud crab and a delicate coconut milk caramel sauce, creating an unforgettable and sophisticated flavor profile.

Diners can start with freshing Pomelo Salad and end the meal with a Fruit Bowl filled for a sweet and cool dessert. | Source: ST25 by KOTO

The dessert menu is equally compelling. Guests can indulge in a selection of tropical fruit ice creams, including soursop, lime, and mango, or savor a Fruit Bowl filled with compressed rock melon, dragon fruit, passionfruit cream, and mango ice, offering a refreshing end to the meal.

Culinary Harmony with Community Values

ST25 by KOTO is staffed by alumni of KOTO—a trailblazing social enterprise in Vietnam that offers free vocational training to disadvantaged youth aspiring to excel in the hospitality sector. Consequently, the restaurant's earnings help fund KOTO's initiatives, allowing more young individuals to gain vocational skills, secure employment, and contribute back to society.

Bảo Trí, a chef at ST25 by KOTO and a graduate from KOTO's 39th class. | Source: ST25 by KOTO

Bảo Trí, a chef at ST25 by KOTO and a graduate from KOTO's 39th class, reflects, "The greatest joy in my job at ST25 by KOTO comes when I receive a dish order from our guests and have the opportunity to prepare a delightful meal for them."

Additionally, KOTO’s founder, Jimmy Phạm, also co-founded VietHarvest, a social enterprise dedicated to reducing food waste and supporting vulnerable communities in Vietnam. ST25 by KOTO actively supports this mission, contributing to a cycle of sustainability and community aid.