Ho Chi Minh City - A Modern Food Hub

April 22, 2016

Ho Chi Minh City - A Modern Food Hub

We finally arrived in Vietnam!!! Our first destination was Ho Chi Minh City, which we immediately fell in love with. Commonly known as Saigon (it’s pre-war name, which I’ll get into later), it is full of commerce and culture, with French colonial architecture, and such amazing food! 

Our first night, we went to a fancy restaurant, deciding to splurge a little, as we were, after all, in the city famous for its amazing food. We split a 7 - course set dinner menu which was perfect because we got to try so many different traditional dishes! The whole meal took us over 2 hours and included: fresh spring rolls, mango seafood salad, sugar can prawns, duck in orange sauce, squid skewers, a hot pot of noodles, vegetables, and meats, and a caramel flan. After dinner we walked through the famous Bén Thành Nigh Market, enjoying the perfect temperature in the cool evening after a hot day. 

The second day I woke up feeling extremely sick, which wasn’t surprising because between all the travelers we’ve met so far, almost all have attested to getting sick at least once at the beginning of their trips. I think our bodies aren’t used to the types of food and water and it takes a little while for us to adjust. By the late afternoon though, I was feeling well enough to go on our motor-bike tour of the city. The tour was 6 hours long and so much fun! It was pretty unprofessional as our guides were young students who happen to work at a travel agency but it worked out great because we could direct them to wherever we wanted to go. We visited the Vietnam War Museum, Independence Palace, Notre Dame, The Central Post Office, and China Town. Once we had seen all the sights, we turned to the street food… we tried so many things! We told our guides to take us to their favorite spots, which ended up with us having: 

Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk. It is so sweet but quite good!

Rice paper, green mango, and dried beef in a plastic bag

Fried ice cream, which is literally a piece of bread folded over ice cream then sizzled in a pan with butter. 

Há Cao (kind of like dim sum) with chili sauce 

Bánh Bao: a dowey, ball-shaped bun filled with pork, egg yolk, and onions

Fried banana in sweet rice

Bing Su Snowflake: an elaborate dessert of shaved ice with tofu/jello - like cubes.