District 1 is a popular restaurant in Medellín with good Vietnamese food that has reopened. The owner was an expat from the U.S. with Vietnamese parents.
After you’ve been in Colombia for a while and had your fill of rice, frijoles, patacones and chicharrón and looking for Asian food for a change of pace, District 1 is a good option. District 1 was located in El Poblado but closed last year but it has now reopened in Laureles.
The dishes and flavors at this restaurant were authentic Vietnamese and quite different than any typical Colombian dishes. I ate at this Vietnamese restaurant several times and there are several good dishes on the menu.
In December 2020, we confirmed that District 1 in El Poblado closed. But we confirmed the restaurant has reopened in Laureles in April 2021.
Note: the above photos are courtesy of District 1.
More About District 1
District 1 first opened in January 2018 by Alex Nhan. Alex was born in the U.S. but his parents are from Vietnam and immigrated to Los Angeles after the Vietnam war.
After working as a business analyst, Alex traveled and worked as a cook when money was needed. In addition, Alex studied at The Sushi Academy in California. But sushi wasn’t really the right fit for him.
Alex discovered Medellín about five years ago and fell in love with the city. But he noticed that Asian options were lacking in Medellín. So, he saw the opportunity to bring authentic Vietnamese food to Medellín, which he did with District 1.
District 1, the name of the restaurant, is the busiest and most prosperous district in Ho Chi Minh City, which is still referred to as Saigon by locals in Vietnam.
However, this first restaurant in El Poblado closed in late 2020, likely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The newly reopened restaurant in Laureles is owned by Hieu Le from the Bay Area in California. Same great food and menu. Different location.
The Food Menu
The menu at District 1 has several typical Vietnamese dishes. The highlight of the menu is probably the soups:
- Pho Dac Biet – special beef soup served with rice vermicelli noodles, onions and cilantro with bean sprouts and lime wedges on the side for 27,000 pesos or 17,500 pesos for a medium size.
- Pho Tai – rare beef soup served with rice vermicelli noodles, onions and cilantro with bean sprouts and lime wedges on the side or 27,000 pesos or 17,500 pesos for a medium size.
- Pho Ga – chicken soup served with rice vermicelli noodles, onions and cilantro with bean sprouts and lime wedges on the side for 27,000 pesos or 17,500 pesos for a medium size.
There are also eight other Vietnamese dishes on the menu with prices under 30,000 pesos each, including several vegetarian options.
A popular dish is the Bun Thit Heo for 29,500 pesos. This is a pork dish with noodles with a great taste once you mix all the ingredients together with mint, sprouts, and other vegetables and a fish sauce vinaigrette.
Furthermore, there are two additions on the menu for 2,000 to 4,000 pesos including extra meat or extra vegetables.
Finally, there are three appetizers on the menu priced from 10,500 to 17,000 pesos. The Goi Cuon (Spring Rolls) appetizer costs 17,000 pesos for three rolls.
The Drink Menu
District 1 has a very small drink menu. There are three beers available for 7,000 pesos each. Also, they have a white wine for 12,500 pesos per cup.
In addition, there are sodas lemonade, teas and water on the menu for 4,500 to 7,000 pesos. And there is Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk available for 6,500 pesos.
How to Get to District 1
The newly reopened District 1 is located in Laureles in Medellín about two blocks from the Primer Parque in Laureles.
Taxis are an option to get to this restaurant. Just provide the address below:
Address: Calle 40 # 74-88, Laureles
Phone: +57 324.353.4795 (WhatsApp for deliveries during curfews)
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday: Noon to 9 pm, Monday and Sunday: Closed..
Payment accepted: Credit and debit cards and cash.
The Best Asian Restaurants in Medellín
On the Medellin Guru website, we have looked at eight of the best Asian restaurants in Medellín and nearby:
- Cuon– a popular Asian restaurant in El Pobaldo with a fusion of dishes from different countries in Asia.
- Eden Bistro – a popular Korean restaurant in El Poblado with authentic Korean food.
- Halong Vietnamita– a popular Vietnamese restaurant in El Poblado with very good Vietnamese food.
- Lemoncillo – a hidden gem Vietnamese restaurant in Envigado with very good Vietnamese food.
- BaoBar – a restaurant in El Retiro with very good and authentic Singaporean food.
- Oppa Asado Coreanoand Oppa Rolo Coreano – two small Korean restaurants in Laureles and El Poblado with authentic Korean food.
- District 1: an authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Laureles
- Khlua Thai: Authentic Thai Food in Envigado for Delivery
Also, we included District 1 in our list of the best Asian restaurants in Medellín.
I like Asian food having lived in Asia for five years when I was younger.
However, so far in over eight years living in Medellín I haven’t found a really good Chinese restaurant, even though there are many Chinese restaurants in the Medellín area.
The Bottom Line: District 1 – Authentic Vietnamese Food Has Reopened in Laureles
District 1 has some good Vietnamese food and it was discovered by many foreigners who like Asian food due to originally being located in El Poblado. However, this restaurant in El Poblado closed in late 2020, likely a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
But we confirmed this restaurant has reopened in April 2021 in Laureles with a new owner.
I recommended this restaurant if you like Vietnamese food. In addition, the prices are reasonable and the sometimes have lunch specials.
Readers, what is your favorite Asian restaurant in Medellín?
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Editor note: updated on December 27, 2020 with information that District 1 is closed.
Editors note: updated on April 30, 2021 with information that District 1 has reopened in Laureles.
I stopped in for lunch about a year ago at this restaurant and I concur with Jeff. The food here is delicious. It’s all fresh ingredients and well prepared. It’s a small spot that’s easy to miss in an area packed with bars and restaurants. I was a bit skeptical at first so I had the Spring Rolls with the accompanying peanut sauce and a soft drink. This ended up being a very good choice and I promised myself I would return for their other main courses(although I obviously have yet to do so). Furthermore, I thought the service here was excellent. The staff are knowledgeable about the ingredients/menu and my server was both kind and efficient. She even spoke a fair bit of English. It’s definitely a change of pace from the usual “ho-hum” of Colombian fare.
Thanks! Yes, the Spring Rolls at District 1 are very good.
I live a few blocks up the hill from District 1 and have been eating there with some regularity since moving in nearly two years ago, at the same time this place opened. I love Vietnamese cuisine, I’ve been to Vietnam a couple times and come from the CA Bay Area where there are excellent Vietnamese restaurants, and Alex does a very solid job of serving genuine VN cuisine, in the Saigon style. He has slowly expanded the menu over that time, having started with just pho in 2018, and I welcome every addition. I’d also add that I have eaten at Saigon Fire, which is next door to Halong and I assume part of the same operation, although the kitchens and menus are separate. The food was interesting but it’s not actually Vietnamese food, rather it’s a kind of Vietnamese-influenced fusion or nouvelle cuisine version of Vietnamese. What Alex makes at District 1 is the real thing.
This is good food but to my knowledge none of the Vietnamese restaurants in Medellin serve Cha Gio, those rice-paper wrapped appetizer rolls which it’s impossible to eat just one…. especially when dipped in Nuoc Maum sauce. I’ve never been able to understand why the restaurants here don’t make and serve cha gio.