CHiÔi: A celebration of Vietnamese cuisine
By Malin Norman | Photos: CHiÔi
Head to CHiÔi for an authentic Vietnamese lunch or dinner – the carefully prepared dishes make for a culinary experience on another level. Or, stop by just to enjoy the vibe, great music and some tasty cocktails with friends.
Stockholm city has a new Vietnamese restaurant, CHiÔi, and it is a real treat. The owners are Vietnamese: one was born in Sweden, while other came to Sweden for the first time as a 15-year-old. They have both been in the industry for a long time, share a passion for food, and longed for an opportunity to offer Stockholm authentic Vietnamese food in a modern and urban setting.
Since it opened last year, CHiÔi has been praised by both customers and reviewers. In a review for SvD, journalist Viggo Cavling described the restaurant as “a glowing colourful lantern”, and applauded the fresh and tasty lunch. One of Sweden’s most popular travel blogs, Matochresebloggen.se, paid a visit and was equally impressed by the well-prepared Vietnamese food, as well as the atmosphere and friendly staff.
Opening in the middle of the pandemic was certainly a challenge, but the restaurant received fantastic response from the very start and the business has grown steadily. CHiÔi opened at a time when people wanted to go out again, to enjoy tasty food in a nice atmosphere. Here, they can also experience an authentic restaurant born from the love of Vietnamese food and culture.
Next level of Vietnamese cuisine
A meal at CHiÔi feels like going on a journey through Vietnam, from the green rice fields in the north to the bustling harbours in the south. But this is not street food, it is more like the next level of homemade food, carefully prepared and enjoyed with friends and family. Many dishes are made to be shared and discovered together at the table, the traditional Vietnamese way for family get-togethers and celebrations.
The restaurant’s name is inspired by the expression ‘chị ơi’ – pronounced chee-oy – which means “hey sister”. This is a well-known Vietnamese expression to the country’s sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters. In Vietnamese culture, the women are the ones doing most of the cooking and CHiÔi is a celebration of the people who have brought Vietnamese food culture to where it is today.
The celebration of Vietnamese women is also apparent in the décor, with large paintings displayed on the walls. The elegant interior features earthy tones, with custom-designed Scandinavian sofas and chairs with an Asian touch, and with dimmed lights that set the tone for an after-work cocktail or dinner. And in summer, customers can enjoy the restaurant’s terrace.
Tasty delights for lunch and dinner
Vietnamese food is fresh with contrasting textures. Typically, chefs aim for a mix of salty, sweet, sour and spicy. Common, flavourful ingredients are lemongrass, ginger, chili and lime, and fresh herbs such as coriander, mint and basil.
On the menu are some favourite dishes that are bound to bring back childhood memories for Vietnamese customers, such as Thịt Kho – caramelised pork with fried egg, perfect for lunch and best enjoyed with a crisp Saigon Lager on the side. Another tasty lunch option is the lemongrass chicken: creamy, fresh and with a balanced umami. CHiôi also serves Phở Bò, a noodle soup which is considered a national dish in Vietnam. The homemade broth is cooked for over 12 hours together with grilled marrow, before slow-cooked beef brisket, noodles and fresh herbs are added.
Sharing dishes are popular too, such as homemade spring rolls or sticky rice with mushrooms and sweet soy sauce, served in a lotus leaf. Meanwhile, the grilled lamb chops with lemongrass salsa offers the perfect mixture of umami from the lamb and freshness of the lemongrass. And for dessert, try the panko fried banana with silky coconut cream and tapioca pearls.
With a vibrant and festive atmosphere, CHiÔi is a great venue for a few drinks with friends or colleagues after work. The restaurant has fabulous cocktails. A must-try is the special version of a Espresso Martini, with Nếp Mới Vietnamese Vodka, and make sure not to miss Chào Me, a refreshing Aperol Spritz with a blood orange twist.
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