Benaras Restaurant is Spicing Things Up in Saigon: Tasty North Indian Food in the Heart of Ho Chi Minh City

by - March 24, 2020

India’s landscape is fantastically distinct. From the romantic dusty pink royal palaces, to the snowy peaks lining the Himalayas, to endless nights under the stars in the Rajasthan desert, it has been at the top of my bucket list for years. I mean, it’s totally diverse in every sense of itself. A total mixture of traditions, cultures, lifestyles and of course! 

In Ho Chi Minh City Indian restaurants have begun to gain attention, not just because of their diverse flavours, but because the Saigonease are big-time foodies. Although I may only be a short flight from India itself, Benaras Indian Restaurant and Lounge has unpacked the spices, seasonings and flares of North Indian cuisine right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City.

The authentic Indian aromas emanated from a plate of biryani or the infusion of spices a chicken tawa masala gives off are enough to make anyone’s mouth water! Specializing in North Indian cuisine, Benaras brings us a taste of Indian street-food, countless vegetarian and vegan dishes, infinite naan combinations, and signature cocktails. As we know, Saigon is a city of endless possibilities, so whether or not you know anything about Indian food or you're just not sure where to find a truly authentic meal in the city, Benaras makes for an excellent choice!

So, without further ado let’s explore the rich and delectable dishes that North India has to offer! 

The Royal Experience

Have you ever wondered what a dining room fit for an Indian queen looked like? Because I might have dreamt about it once or twice. Luckily for me my dreams became a reality as we were greeted and so kindly showed us to our seats in Benaras’s grand royal dining room! The elegantly arranged thrones had my eyes sparkling in the reflections of this bejeweled room! With the exquisitely embroidered tablecloths complementing the charming hand-painted chalices, we knew we were definitely in for a treat! 

As we were introduced to the menu, a bit of history behind such an extravagant room was also uncovered for us. The powerful dynasties of the medieval world are what brought India’s history and culture a legacy that lives on even today. Having the opportunity to experience an unforgettable royal feat, like this one, will forever hold its charm and will remind me of an era glittering with glory and grandness. It's an opportunity no one would want to miss! 

Soup & Starters

To satiate the pangs of hunger we started our endless meal with a Hot and Sour Chicken Soup. Warm, filling and with just the right amount of spice, I wished my bowl was bottomless.

For our vegetarian starter we dove into a Paneer Tikka packed with taste. Grilled vegetables accompanied beautifully sliced pieces of golden paneer (cottage cheese). Delicious. 

For our non-vegetarian starter we opted for the Boneless Chicken Tikka, a special spice marinade giving loads of flavor, keeping the chicken incredibly moist and outrageously delicious. Spices lie at the heart of Indian cooking and this dish is nothing short of that! 

Main Course 

After a delicious start to our royal meal, it was time for the main course! Our superbly tasty vegetarian dish, Vegetable Tawa Masala was an incredible array of flavours. The marinated vegetables cooked in a spicy gravy entwined with masala, made it impulsively delicious. And with our hot Indian roti and garlic naan at the ready, there was not much left of this dish to say the least.

Next up, a staple food in every North Indian cuisine and a favourite at any table, the Dal Makhani. This vegetarian dish is a combination of lentils cooked together with butter and cream to create a unique flavour that utterly soothed my soul! 

Our non-vegetarian main, Chicken Tikka Masala was creamy and rich in the best possible way. Aromatic golden pieces of chicken swimming in an incredible curry sauce, made this Chicken Tikka Masala one of the best I’ve ever tried! 

We also ventured into a Mutton Shahi Korma, a non-vegetarian main. The flavour of this korma is based in a mixture of spices combined with tender pieces of lamb which give it an edge to other dishes!

Freshly Baked Indian Naans

This is one of my absolute must haves in any Indian restaurant! I mean, naan and roti are an integral part of any Indian meal. So, we just had to get our hand on the Tandoori Roti and the Garlic Naan. While both are cooked in a tandoor, the Tandoori Roti is a thin flat bread, while Garlic Naan is thicker and topped with roasted garlic. Yum! Both of which are delicious and both of which taste even better when eaten alongside any of the dishes above!

One bread I’ve never had the chance to try is the Stuffed Tawa Paratha. A crisper, flakier flatbread traditionally cooked in ghee on an iron skillet and stuffed with a tasty combination to make anyone finish their naan basket! This scrumptious smorgasbord of various baked Indian naans elevated my taste buds throughout our meal as I dipped and dunked until everything was gone!

Basmati Rice

Whether or not you’re a rice lover, there is no escaping the aroma a plate of Kashmiri Biryani gives off. The infusion of kashmiri spices combined with the long grained Basmati rice, tenderly cooked meat and topped with colourful dried fruits is a stunning addition to any meal.


No matter what anyone thinks or says, there is always room for dessert. And this Indian version of ice cream, Kesar Kuffi, made using thickened milk, saffron and loaded with dry fruits was such a treat to our taste buds. Alongside our Kesar Kuffi we also dug deep into our bowls of Vermicelli in Milk. A simple but deliciously sweet milk pudding left us leaving on cloud 9.

Meet The Man Behind the Culinary Excellence!

Meet Chef Pawan Singh Kandhare, the man behind Benaras’s fine flavours and ambitious Indian cuisine! Born and raised in Dehradun, Uttrakhand, India, Pawan says he’s always had a passion for cooking and he can’t remember a time he didn’t love crafting new and exciting dishes. He tells me, “I’ve always enjoyed cooking and even helped my mom in the kitchen when I was a kid, which definitely wasn’t normal for boys to do, but with time I realized that I wanted it to be my profession.” Pawan’s career has allowed him to experiment with all types of food, cuisines and different dishes. When I asked what his favourite thing to cook was, he said it’s almost impossible to choose just one dish, what he does love is testing out different dishes and cooking up tons of delicious options! 

Pawan has been working with Benaras for over a year and a half and has loved every minute of his journey here. When he was offered the opportunity to move abroad to Saigon, Pawan jumped at the chance. “It was very random. I never planned to move to Saigon but was definitely very excited when I got the opportunity” he tells me, “Indian food is something I can never stop loving and it will always be my favourite.” It’s certainly true, you can taste the passion he has coming through his unforgettable plates. When I asked what his favourite dish on the menu was, Pawan replied “ with the varieties of spices and flavours, all the dishes taste so different from each other, you’ll always want to have everything on the menu when you’re hungry and picking one will be the hardest thing to do!” Pawan is right, picking just one dish on Benaras’s extensive menu would be next to impossible. However, aside from having some amazing bites, Benaras is more than just the food they serve up. Pawan shares that “it’s not just a workplace but a home that I have found away from home. I have a family who is always by my side in everything here.” 

Everybody Needs to Spice Up Their Life 

If you're looking for a spicy bite in the city, Benaras and Benaras Gardenia will transport you on a journey through Northern India’s streets where the aroma of spices welcomes you and mouth watering flavours leave you wanting more! India is renowned for its tempting array of food and Benaras gives us the opportunity to explore the depths of North Indian cuisine. With their regionally distinct recipes, their traditional preparation techniques and palatable practices have allowed them to bring masterfully flavoured dishes to Saigon.

What You Need to Know!

Location 1: Benaras Indian Restaurant & Lounge, 5A Đường Nguyễn Siêu, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Location 2: Benaras Gardenia, 28 Trần Ngọc Diện, Thảo Điền, Quận 2, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Find Them: at or on Facebook or Instagram @BenarasClubVietnam and @Benaras_Gardenia

Menu: Have a look at all your food options here!

If you have any questions you can also find me on Instagram at @AlyshiaTurchyn! Definitely reach out, there's nothing more I'd love than to help you plan your next meal at Benaras!

Looking for a place to stay in Ho Chi Minh City? Checkout all your accommodation options here!

You May Also Like