koto saigon restaurant now open

koto restaurant food saigon vietnamMany Intrepid travellers have been introduced to the dining delights of KOTO Hanoi. Now such culinary pleasures, while supporting deserving young people, can also be had in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)!

Established in 1999, KOTO has grown from a small sandwich shop in Hanoi to an internationally accredited hospitality program. In January 2010, KOTO was able to replicate its successful Hanoi model with the opening of KOTO Saigon training centre and has recently celebrated the opening of a restaurant in HCMC. Same great service from trainees who prepare and serve the food. Plus a menu that celebrates local ingredients and utilises the international culinary techniques the trainees are learning, resulting in an array of innovative fusion dishes.

KOTO (Know One Teach One) is a free of charge vocational training organisation for street and disadvantaged youth, where 16 – 22 year olds are given hospitality, English language and life skills training, enabling them to get jobs and lift themselves out of poverty. The founder, Jimmy Pham, is a former Intrepid group leader and Intrepid is a long-time supporter of KOTO’s including through The Intrepid Foundation.

KOTO’s revenue comes largely from its restaurants and catering service, which are staffed by trainees, where all profit is invested back into the organisation for the good of the trainees. KOTO has over 300 graduates, all of whom have secured employment upon graduating, many at 5-star hotels, resorts and the finest restaurants in Vietnam and around the world. All of the trainees are from disadvantaged backgrounds, including many who grew up on the streets, in orphanages, or in the poorest parts of the cities or provinces in Vietnam.

KOTO Saigon looks forward to welcoming Intrepid travellers soon!

Address: 151a Hai Ba Trung, District 3, HCMC, Vietnam
Open: Daily for lunch 10am – 3pm (closed Mondays), as well as dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday (10am – late).

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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Oh my goodness – I remember going coming home from a Vietnam trip in the late 90’s and going to a KOTO fundraiser Jimmy held at a Vietnamese restaurant in Newtown. I’d met a charming young lad named Long Tran who kindly kept me from being ripped off by a postcard seller outside the Hanoi hotel the day I arrived for a North Vietnam Intrepid trip and was so happy to hear from Jimmy that Long had become an invaluable KOTO member. I’ve been thinking lately I wonder how KOTO and Long are going …. thanks for the update. I wonder if I may get in contact with Jimmy to ask him? Would you mind passing on my email address?


While on a Intrepid Veitnam tour we visited the KOTO Saigon school for cooking lessons and dining in the in house restuarant.

What a wonderful experience. The people, food and service are a credit to KOTO.

Keep up the good work

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