Hanoi Gastronomy & Vietnamese Water Puppetry at Dau Homemade

food - Saigon/HCMC: July 22, 2019

If you’re looking to sample authentic Hanoi food in Ho Chi Minh City, look no further than Dau Homemade. What truly sets Dau Homemade apart from other Vietnamese restaurants is its commitment to not just gastronomical traditions, but also culture and Vietnamese performing arts; it's the only restaurant where you can dine in comfort while enjoying a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show in Ho Chi Minh City!

Dau Homemade

After 15 years working as flight cabin crew, Ms. Giang from Hanoi - owner of Dau Homemade - made the decision to start her own business. Her mission was to bring authentic bún đậu mắm tôm (Hanoian fried tofu and pressed rice vermicelli served with savoury shrimp sauce) and other regional classics such as lẩu riêu (crab hotpot), stuffed freshwater escargot and Vietnamese sweet soup to discerning locals and foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City. Ms. Giang’s passion for Vietnamese culture and tradition eventually led her to learn the ropes of a disappearing art; Vietnamese water puppet performance. She became the only student outside the bloodline of renowned grandmaster Mr. Phan Thanh Liem to have mastered the art.

Dau Homemade

In much of Vietnamese history, traditions and cultures often hold a spiritual connection to the river and the sea. First pioneered in the 11th century in the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam, Vietnamese water puppetry is believed to be the only surviving form of puppet theatre in the world to be performed in water. To survive moisture and rot, these water puppets need to be made with high quality wood and paint; a painstaking art form in itself. In the past, water puppet performers would wear nothing except loincloths and rely on consuming fish sauce for warmth as they submerged themselves in cold waters while manipulating the intricate puppets. These performances would usually only occur during special occasions such as Lunar New Year and the Mid-autumn Festival.

Dau Homemade

Now, every Sunday at Dau Homemade, diners are given the opportunity to experience this ethereal tradition for themselves! Animated puppets will take you through a journey of legends and tales kindred to the Vietnamese people - ancient tales of moral values and wisdom. Uncle Tễu - jester and showmaster - opens the performance with unforgettable humour and wit; the ultimate emcee of the water puppet world. Scenes of Vietnam’s rural farming community are re-enacted before legendary beasts including a colourful and majestic dragon and lân, the enigmatic unicorn-like ‘chimera’ of Asia. Both creatures were believed to bring success, love and prosperity to mankind. In a spectacular finale of celebration and delight, boisterous traditions such as boat racing and a buffalo fight are revived on the water’s firmament; a reflection of Vietnam's perpetual energy.

Dau Homemade

Ms. Giang’s wish is simple; with the help of these unique and vibrant puppets, she hopes that more locals and foreigners, especially the young, are able to witness these performances deeply rooted in tradition. Dau Homemade is the only venue in Ho Chi Minh City to feature a miniaturised version of the traditional water puppet stage; one of the many important innovations created by grandmaster Mr. Phan Thanh Liem, aimed to bring the art to the masses.

Dau Homemade

Dau Homemade

52 Lê Lai Street, Bến Thành ward, District 1

Water puppet performances at the above location are available every Sunday upon request. Simply make a reservation for a minimum of four diners.

No minimum spend required.

Image source: Dau Homemande