REVIEW: Bánh mì queen brings Vietnamese family-style dining to Vinohrady

The highly anticipated sit-down restaurant by Bánh Mì Makers pioneer Trang Nguyen serves 'mâm côm' dishes made for sharing.

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 20.03.2024 17:00:00 (updated on 22.03.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

If you've had bánh mì – a Vietnamese baguette stuffed with pickled vegetables, herbs, meat, and pate – in Prague, you’ve likely done so courtesy of Trang Nguyen. Ten years ago, the young entrepreneur opened Bánh Mì Makers when she was just 22 years old.

Today, Bánh Mì Makers boasts three locations throughout the Czech capital, and Nguyen has now graduated from street food to sit down with the opening, a few weeks ago, of the highly anticipated Rice Field in Vinohrady. The restaurant serves various dishes meant for sharing, in Vietnamese mâm côm, loosely translated as “rice tray.”

The Buzz

Rice Field

Rice Field was inspired by Sapa (the mountainous region in northwestern Vietnam, not the Vietnamese market in Prague). “After a long time, I went to Vietnam in 2017, and while trekking among the rice fields in Sapa, I remembered my childhood. We also had a rice field back then, and I thought my next restaurant would be a rice field,” Nguyen told Czech Forbes in an interview.

“Our goal is to make people stop in today’s busy world. Families gather at our place, eat together, and try to comment on the food together. In short, they are happy, and food becomes an experience that brings them together," she said.

Born in Vietnam and living in the Czech Republic since she was eleven, Nguyen said that while many Vietnamese restaurants are adopted for Europeans, the Rice Field concept aims to introduce how Vietnamese people eat at home ("a lot and for a long time").

The Venue


Hidden on a quiet side street near Náměstí Míru, the small dining room is simple and welcoming, though nothing exceptional. A soothing painted mural evokes the rice fields of Vietnam, while the front-of-the-house bar evokes the cocktail lounges of Vinohrady.

The blonde wood and industrial light fixtures create a neutral backdrop to showcase the vibrant, patterned serving ware and the food, with its eye-popping palette and array of fruity and flowery garnishes.

Our only real complaint is that our square table wasn’t big enough to hold all the plates that would come out. (Note to those making a future reservation: avoid this amateur mistake and opt for a round table!)

The Food

Rice Field

The menu offers mâm côm four ways: choose from crispy pork belly, sautéed beef with vegetables, chicken legs with lime leaves, or fried tofu. These “sets” are served with sticky rice, a large tureen of soup, pickled eggplant, seasonal fruit, steamed pok choi, and chili and fish sauces for dipping.

Extras can be ordered in addition to the sets, including the portions of the meat and tofu available in the sets and pork ribs and shrimp. Other extras include quail eggs in tamarind sauce and nem lụi, a central Vietnamese specialty of pork and shrimp fried in fragrant lemon grass. 

Salad is one of the areas in which Vietnamese cuisine shines, combining all the fresh and light flavors of herbs like cilantro and mint with fiery chilies. Rice Field’s salad of shrimp, lotus root, pomelo, cucumbers, carrots, grated coconut, paprika, herbs, peanuts, chili, and rice crackers is no exception. 

The dessert and cocktails are also worth mentioning; the herbal, citrusy Yuzu fizz was divine, and the tropical mousse, in the shape of a teardrop, gave off a delicious cheesecake vibe.

The verdict

We opted for the pork belly and chicken sets and the rolls filled with shrimp, pork, mushrooms, and fried tofu as extras. The waiter instructed us how to tuck into the meal (soup last, with bites of briny eggplant and steamed greens between meat and rice).

The pork belly is Rice Field’s signature dish, not too fatty but thinly sliced with a flavorful crust crisped to perfection. Fried tofu, crispy on the outside and pillowy inside, is complemented with hearty mushrooms, lemongrass, and a robust sauce. The roasted chicken legs are served with bright, fresh lime leaves. The soup is a rich broth with ground pork meat and vegetables.

If you’ve had a Vietnamese meal in Prague before, you won’t find any real surprises in the meat and rice dishes on offer here; it’s the way they are served in combination with all the extras – which genuinely represent a flavorful microcosm of the cuisine – that make the difference. When enjoyed with a group of friends, the Rice Field experience will feel like a shared culinary adventure.

From the menu

Yuzu fizz CZK 215
Marayuca lemonade CZK 115
Tofu set CZK 330
Pork belly set CZK 360
Fried rolls CZK 210
Tropical "drop" CZK 150

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