Vietnam’s hot spot for Asian comfort food
According to Chinese tradition, the number eight is considered lucky because its pronunciation is similar to the word for “fortune” or “wealth.” The Chinese also consider themselves descendants of the dragon, a mythical symbol of royalty and wealth. Together, 8 Dragons, Ho Tram Resort Casino Vietnam’s Chinese/Korean restaurant, aims to provide an auspicious dining experience. It should come as no surprise, then, that this 90-seat eatery is placed squarely in the resort’s massive casino, within full view of the mesmerizing lights and the seductive chirps and dings of the more than 500 slot machines and 90 gaming tables.
Inside 8 Dragons, red metal chairs flank small wood-topped tables in a large, open space that has upholstered bench-style seating around its perimeter. The restaurant was designed to give gamers a bit of a break from the intensity of the casino and — if the happy pop soundtrack playing in the background is any indication — it works quite well. Pink and gold tones lend a touch of sophistication to the otherwise casual eatery, while hundreds of white origami cranes hung from the high ceiling and bathed in a pinkish glow have a soothing quality. But make no mistake, the Chinese and Korean comfort food on the menu is meant to be served quickly, within 20 minutes or less, so gamers can quickly refuel and get back to the tables.
The resort is popular among Korean golfers, as the Greg Norman-designed, 18-hole golf course The Bluffs, sits nearby. 8 Dragons is partially aimed at those guests, serving authentic Korean specialties like kimbap rice rolls, ramen, the ever-popular bibimbap (rice mixed with meat, vegetables and an egg) and grilled bulgogi featuring Korean wagyu beef. Spicy food lovers will enjoy the jeuk-gui (spicy grilled pork belly and pork shoulder) and nakji-bokkeum (spicy stir-fried octopus).
The other half of the menu features Sichuan Chinese favorites like Chengdu-style poached chicken with spicy sauce and traditional steamed Shanghai dumplings, barbecue pork buns and other dim sum dishes. A glass case filled with roasted duck and pork stands ready to serve up meals hawker-style. Hand-pulled noodles — made fresh daily — round out the menu.
Desserts include a chilled aloe vera and lime pudding with honey and an optional twist on Thai mango sticky rice — the rice is crispy-fried instead of moist. A wines and spirits list is much more extensive and imbibers can order by the glass or the bottle.
And since the Vietnam restaurant caters to those on the casino floor, gamblers can order food to be brought directing to their gaming table if they’re on a hot streak. In fact, dishes from other restaurants around the property or even from the room service menu can also be ordered and delivered to those who just don’t want to leave the casino.