Chef Khai Vu of Las Vegas' District One Dishes Up 'Crazy, Fun' Vietnamese Cuisine

Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez

District One Kitchen & Bar is not strictly a Vietnamese cuisine restaurant. Although the restaurant name refers to the district epicenter for entertainment and dining in Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest municipality), District One is known to be a melting pot of Asian flavors, including Vietnamese, Thailandese, Chinese, and Japanese.

“In the menu, we have everything from seafood to noodles to different variety of Southeast Asian-inspired dishes,” said Chef and owner Khai Vu. “A lot of it is Vietnamese-inspired because of our roots and where we’re from…”

However, District One’s founders wanted to create a menu that would not only reflect their heritage, but also showcase their experiences by combining flavors from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New York.

Chef Vu attributes his entrepreneurial spirit to his father, who taught him how to be a successful businessman, but for his early fascination with food, Chef Vu blames his grandmother.

“From growing up and going to the farmer’s market every weekend with my grandma... every weekend, she would stop everything and make a big family meal,” said Chef Vu.

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In this Table 42 Vignette, Chef Vu demonstrated for us their signature dish: Live Whole Maine Lobster Pho. They get them alive and then they poach them, “...we take them all apart, and then deshell them and put it back together” in order to make it easier for the guest to eat.

“When you order, ask for a female lobster because it comes with all the roll… that’s the good stuff!” Vu added.

At District One, they really go out of their way to give each one of the dishes a home-cooked feel.

“I take all the good dish, put it on a much easier, simpler menu that people can understand and after they are used to it, I’ll bring out more crazy, fun stuff,” said Chef Vu. “We want people to understand more the cuisine, so they can enjoy it more...”