When the 5-star Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers opened its doors in 2003, it didn’t just usher in a new level of upscale world-class hotel accommodations in Vietnam, it introduced Cantonese culinary mastery to local foodies and foreign business travelers embracing the beauty of Dong Khoi Street, Saigon’s primary thoroughfare.
Despite being seemingly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Li Bai Restaurant is conveniently located on the second floor of the iconic hotel. The shiny red-floored entrance, featuring ocean wave details, white pebbles, silver carp ornaments, and red lanterns, leads to a large dining space that exudes sophistication.
The opulent Chinese vibe is immediately conveyed by the large tables adorned with elegant yellow linen and plush, upholstered seats. The restaurant’s ambiance is dominated by warm, red tones, tastefully arranged to accentuate the authentic Cantonese dining experience that Li Bai Restaurant takes immense pride in.
20 years of Cantonese indulgence
Li Bai Restaurant has consistently upheld its reputation as one of the most frequented and highly acclaimed Chinese restaurants in all of Saigon. Despite the city’s major transformations and the emergence of contemporary fine dining options over the past two decades, Li Bai has retained a devoted base of patrons.
Restaurant Manager Xú Gia Vĩ says they’ve seen diners grow with Li Bai, having marked their life’s milestones with Li Bai’s famous dim sum and traditional Cantonese dishes.
“We constantly hear stories from our diners about how they used to come to Li Bai with their parents when they were young. Now that they already have their own families, they still come here and give their children the same good experience.”
Most of the staff at the restaurant, including the zǒng chú himself Chef Thi Giang, has been with Li Bai since it opened in 2003. Chef Giang, a talented Cantonese kitchen master, crafted the menu that gained the restaurant its unwavering popularity and has, until this very day, remained true to his life’s mission of preserving Cantonese cuisine and delivering quintessence and ingenuity with every plate he serves to loyal and new patrons.
Li Bai Restaurant showcases the distinctiveness of Cantonese cuisine, with an emphasis on using fresh, seasonal ingredients to create subtle and delicate flavors that are achieved through simple cooking techniques. Quality and consistency, says Xú Gia Vĩ, are the key to Li Bai’s enduring success over the past 20 years.
“We are famous for our homemade dim sums and our Peking Duck, which is our signature dish. Completely and meticulously handcrafted according to the traditional recipe.
“Cantonese cuisine is renowned for its high-quality standards and attention to detail, with many chefs spending years mastering their craft to ensure that every dish is cooked to perfection. Overall, the combination of variety, fresh ingredients, healthy cooking techniques, attention to presentation, and high-quality standards makes Cantonese cuisine a hit among customers.”
Li Bai Restaurant offers more than 60 dim sum dishes, from the classic shrimp dumplings to more refined deep-fried cod taro cake and fried salmon roll with seaweed. These dim sum goodness go buffet style every day at lunch, while an a la carte menu is available for dinner, featuring fresh seafood and innovative meat dishes cooked in perfection. Every meal is a celebration of a good life and good food, perfect for intimate family gatherings, post-business dinner discussions, or any special occasion that deserves to be savored in style.
Authenticity amidst changes
Li Bai Restaurant places a strong focus on authenticity and uncompromising quality. With a well-loved menu and an incredibly dedicated kitchen staff trained to serve the best dining experience in Saigon, the restaurant has become a legacy of its own.
But this doesn’t mean it refuses to adapt to changing times.
“We welcome everyone who wants to try Chinese food. When it comes to frequent visitors to Li Bai, it is mostly business and family visitors that come since we have ample room to accommodate everyone’s demands. We are very lucky that our exceptional service and quality of food standards have allowed us to attract and maintain a very loyal clientele base that is a key part of the success of Li Bai, they are the real reason this restaurant is successful.”
In a bid to attract a new generation of diners, the restaurant is continuously innovating and organizing promotional events. April’s “Chocolate Dim Sum” is its most creative and daring offering to date for Cantonese cuisine-loving Gen Zers. From chocolate cheese dumplings to chocolate egg tarts, every dish in this limited-time a la carte menu will melt every Cantonese foodie’s heart.
In the second quarter of the year, the restaurant will welcome guest dim sum chefs for the “Straight Outta Guangdong” event, showcasing a wide range of handmade dim sums not seen in Saigon ever before. The event will be a culinary experience like no other, says Xú Gia Vĩ, and will further elevate Li Bai Restaurant’s prestige as a dim sum haven.
For those wanting to take a piece of their delectable Li Bai experience home, the restaurant sells its special X.O sauce, as well as the ultra-savory dragon boat dumpling. Diners and avid customers may also celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in September with the restaurant’s famous bánh trung thu.
The restaurant aims to expand its offerings to the younger generation and let them taste authentic Cantonese goodness. Amidst the whirlwind of change and innovation, some things remain timeless, like the unparalleled quality of Cantonese cuisine at Li Bai Restaurant.