Overall Experience - 9.3
Summary : The pizza was the best I had during my travels to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. The topping combos are insane and the fact that it's hidden down an alley only adds to the allure.
During my trip to Eastern Asia earlier this year, I set out to try one pizza place in each country I visited: Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. I spent eight nights in Vietnam and during my stay in Hoi An, I visited Luna d’Autunno — a beach side pizza place with scenic views and solid pies. I had checked “Vietnam” off my pizza list and had no intention of trying any other places there. But a few days later, when I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, I read about a place called Pizza 4P’s (8/15 Lê Thánh Tôn Street) which had such incredible reviews that I had to check it out. (I despise TripAdvisor when it comes to restaurant reviews, but for those who live by it, Pizza 4P’s is currently the number 5th ranked eating establishment in HCMC — of the 230 reviews, 146 are “excellent” and 64 are “very good”). While my friends headed out to the Cu Chi Tunnels, I stayed back in town for some culinary adventures.
You might think the 4P’s stand for toppings like pepperoni and parm, but they actually stand for Platform of Personal Pizza For Peace. The place is located down an alleyway, which shouldn’t be tricky to find if you know where you’re going. When you’re on Lê Thánh Tôn Street walking north, you’ll want to look for this street sign, featuring Pizza 4P’s on the top left. The alleyway is across the street from an Akuruhi Supermarket. Start walking down the alleyway and make a left when you can’t go any further and you’ll see the restaurant 100 feet down the block. Really, it’s pretty simple to find.
Since I was dining alone, and wasn’t particularly hungry, I was only able to eat one pie. To put it simply, it was the best pizza I ate in Eastern Asia — comparable to what you might find at a Neapolitan pizza place in NYC. This was both surprising and unexpected. I’m usually not a fan of upscale places that will do a half and half pie, but in this case it worked out well since I could try two. I ordered one half of a Margherita and was intrigued by a four flower pie on the menu featuring pumpkin flowers, leek flower, telosma cordata flower, sesbania grandiflora flower, daylily flower, housemade mozzarella, and parmesean. Got all that? Well there is more. I could also choose from a dry tomato sauce or a sweet chili mayonnaise sauce. I went for the latter.
All the pies at 4P’s are similarly complicated. There are a maximum of three pies listed on each menu page, each accompanied by a photo and detailed description. The pies here were the most adventurous I came across during my travels. You can get a tuna curry pizza, a salmon miso cream pizza, or an okonomiyaki pizza featuring cabbage, octopus, green onion, red ginger, mayonnaise, mozzarella, parmesean, olive oil, and sweet okonomiyaki sauce (okonomiyaki, by the way is a savory japanese vegetable pancake). You can see photos of all of these pies on the website.
I really liked my pie. The Margherita side had all the components you’d hope for — soft and gooey mozzarella cheese, coupled with fresh tomato sauce and a generous portion of basil. The flower half was unique, but tasted like a white pie with veggies. The yellow flowers on top were the only ingredients that stood out as tasting especially like flowers.
Perhaps what surprised me the most was that all of these crazy pies were coming out of a fancy, upscale pizzeria with high quality ingredients. The pies cost anywhere from $6.00 (for a Marghertia or four flower pie) to $17.00 for a Margherita pie with prosciutto. Even in New York City, $17.00 is expensive. In Vietnam, a pizza for that price is unheard of. The clientele at the restaurant, as you might, imagine, isn’t exactly local.
As in my previous posts, I’ve been torn at recommending pizza places in Eastern Asia. There is so much good local food in Vietnam that you can’t access back in the States. And if you are only traveling for a short period of time, I’m not sure its worth it to sacrifice a meal on pizza. In this case, however, I am going to encourage you to do it. This place itself is awesome. And the pizzas on the menu are some of the most unique I’ve seen. When you’re in Ho Chi Minh City, make sure you visit Pizza 4P’s.