Since my girlfriend arrived in Vietnam 2 months ago, we have been playing this game where, when we go out to eat, I’m not allowed to take her to the same place more than once. This was easy in April; I can rattle off my top 20 Da Nang quan nhau no problem. But as we’re nearing June, I’ve been scratching my head a bit and had to turn to the World Wide Web. And that’s how I found out about Quan Sy Mai.
Located on the quiet Nguyễn Công Trứ, on the beach side near the river, this Da Nang quan nhau is almost in a great spot. When we pulled up, at about sunset, we found the usual plastic tables with not many customers. Our 3-course feast consisted of chicken in lemongrass and chili (cánh gà xào xả ớt) grilled clams (nghêu nướng) and banana-flower salad with shrimp (búp chuối trộn). They also have Huda beer!
By the time our food came, which wasn’t very long at all, the place was packed. They even started setting up tables and chairs in the street because there was no more room. Unlike many quan nhau restaurants, this place seemed somehow more women-and-children-friendly. The food was fantastic. The chicken was the highlight: spicy with a tangy sauce that got mopped up by the banh mi they brought us. The salad was light and fresh. And the clams, though small, had a great BBQ-like sauce. We had a moment of food envy though when we saw multiple plates of what looked like delicious battered squid coming out of the kitchen. Apparently the other patrons knew something we didn’t, so we’ll be sure to come back and see what that’s all about.
Update (Sept. 22): I have been back a few times since writing this and have tasted the fabled battered squid. It’s fantastic. Better than anywhere else I’ve had, including the ribs place behind Dong Da market (I’m talking to you, ILA teachers).
Want to check out some more Da Nang quan nhau with an expat guide? Book an evening food tour.