My boyfriend and I order so much Vietnamese food that the guys at Co My Cantine must know the inside of our apartment block like the back of their hands. I’ve also visited the restaurant itself on numerous occasions, and although the heavy use of wood panelling is somewhat reminiscent of a Swedish sauna, the service is top notch and tables are always full.
The restaurant is unlikely one you would stumble across on a visit to the city, located in Ménilmontant, tourists do not often venture this far east, preferring to end their visit nearer the Père Lachaise cemetery. However this is precisely why I enjoy this neighbourhood and probably why the food is so good: it’s residential and far-removed from any tourist traps.
I almost always go for the Ga Bun. It’s a delicious mix of vermicelli noodles, cucumber, carrots, chicken, mint and my reason for living: spring rolls (or nems as they call them in France). The spring rolls are literally amazing, perfectly crispy without being too greasy.
For my boyfriend it’s either always Bo Bun (the same as mine but with beef) or the tricky-to-find Loc Lac- equally as amazing, it is made with rice and a deliciously runny egg. The only downside being it has no nems.
I whole-heartedly recommend a visit to Co My Cantine and also a stroll around the neighbourhood of Ménilmontant, which has kept much of it’s working class roots …It’s also not far from Rue Oberkampf, a very popular road packed with bars where you can enjoy a drink or two en terasse.
Recently, my boyfriend brought home the horrifying realisation that we may forever have to stay in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, else sacrifice the best Vietnamese takeaway we know.
Fun Fact: The chase scene in the 2002 film The Bourne Identity, where Franka Potente and Matt Damon tear around Paris in a Mini, was filmed partly in Ménilmontant.