Many of the Japanese restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City can be found in an area bordered by Ton Duc Thang on the riverside, and Ly Tu Trong. Moving towards the city they spread as far as Thi Sach. This rough rectangle of real estate is often referred to as “Little Tokyo.” There are many Japanese owned restaurants, cafes, clubs and businesses here.
As far back as the 16th century, Vietnam and Japan had a healthy relationship based on trade. However in 1940 Japan invaded, taking advantage of a power vacuum and remained until their surrender to the allies in 1945. Nowadays Japan is the country’s largest donor - in 2007 it pledged US$890 million. A steady stream of tourists and emigres has followed.
Japanese cuisine in the city is usually of a high standard. On the edge of Little Tokyo coming on from Binh Thanh, The Sushi Bar has been serving the local Japanese community since 1999. Their staples being the the bento boxes, mini okonomi yaki and shabu shabu. Across District 1 and high up in the sky you’ll find Sorae. This is 600 feet above street in the AB Tower directly under the Chill Skybar. Sorae Sushi and Sake Lounge is an excellent high-end, modern restaurant. The food is superb and the views across the city are amazing. Kobe Teppan Yaki in District 3 is the first restaurant in the city to bring teppanyaki techniques and fine Kobe beef together.
Dining out Saigon style if you like Japanese food is special. The various sushi restaurants are far cheaper than you could hope for in the West. Even in the shopping malls, Japanese venders will serve reasonably priced bento boxes. A sushi lunch can cost just a few dollars. It is fair to say that Japanese restaurants are more than well represented in Saigon.