A bistro owner taught people in a northern-Slovak town to eat real Vietnamese food

Foreigners first to discover the place, only then did locals start loving it.

(Source: Courtesy of Nha Be)

Lunchtime always attracts a buzzing crowd to the inconspicuous passageway in the centre of Martin, a northern-Slovak town that is home to some 60,000 people.

The Vietnamese bistro nestled in the passageway is usually filled with hungry folk waiting to hear their name called out, a not-too-subtle sign that the food they ordered is ready. In its nearly three years of existence, the bistro has taught the inhabitants of Martin and its surroundings, many of whom have never tried it before, to eat Vietnamese food.

Nam Van Nguyen, the 27-year-old owner of the bistro he founded with his girlfriend, never doubted that people would fall in love with Vietnamese meals.

“I wanted to show Martin's inhabitants how good Vietnamese cuisine is,” Nguyen said in an interview with The Slovak Spectator.

Foreigners were first to come

But Slovaks were not the first enthusiasts of his cuisine when he first started the bistro. Unlike many northern-Slovak towns, Martin has a community of foreigners, students of the local medical school. Many of them especially come from Scandinavian countries.

Croatian in Slovakia: Foreigners have a business advantage Read more 

They were Nguyen's first customers, which made Christmas and summer holidays a difficult time for the bistro, with most of its customers out of town and back in their home countries.

Not anymore. The foreigners' interest sparked curiosity among the locals of Martin. Now, most of the bistro's customers are Slovaks, Nguyen says.

People love the Pho

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

Economic restart after COVID-19 should be green

Slovakia’s plan for using money from the EU’s Recovery Fund, innovation potential and examples of green solutions and the challenge of renovating buildings are among the highlights of the latest Business Focus.

The Velux plant in Partizánske utilises 97 percent of waste from production.

Cabinet agrees on COVID screening

More details will be presented tomorrow.


More tips for outings in Bratislava during the lockdown

Walks along the Danube bank offer a feeling of being far from the city rush.

This place, part of Ovsištské Lúky (Ovsište Meadows) in Petržalka, is still Bratislava.

Roundup: Fairytale app that makes children read

An award-winning design by a Slovak architect and a trip to Zádielska dolina valley. Here’s your latest roundup.

A man wearing a face covering sits in an armchair on the snow-covered Main Street in Košice on January 13, 2021.