Thursday, May 17, 2012

What to eat in Ho Chi Minh City aside from Noodles

Even if you just eat your way around Ho Chi Minh City, it’ll feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth already. For me, that’s how delicious Vietnamese food is.

The food is never just spicy, salty, or sweet. It’s practically a combination of everything, including a pleasantly surprising aftertaste.

Here are some of the food I tried and enjoyed:

1.     Beef Noodle Soup (Bo Kho) 
This just made Pho Hoa cry. It’s just that good. The weather may be a bit too hot for soup but it’s still worth it. Runny nose alert! 

Price: 40,000 VND (~Php 80)
Where: Street vendor along Pham Ngu Lao St.
2.    Vietnamese Subway (Banh Mi)
It’s a Subway with an oriental kick: liver pate with 3 different sausage slices, mayo, tomatoes, cucumber, pork floss, chili sauce, soy sauce, onions, and a dash of pepper.

Price: 15,000 VND (~Php 30)
Where: Street vendors along Bui Vien and De Tham St.

3.     Fried Spring Rolls (Cha Gio)
The trip wouldn’t have been complete without this. The sauce gives it that extra oomph.

Price: 40,000 VND (~Php 80)
Where: Ngon 138, 138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St.

4.     Fresh Spring Rolls (Tuong Cham)
This isn't for those who are allergic to shrimp...and vegetables. It’s quite small but really filling. The sweet peanuty-chilli-oyster sauce gives you that kilig factor.

Price: 6,000 VND (~Php 12)
Where: Street vendor along De Tham St.

5.     Elephant Ear Fish Wrap
This was lunch during the Mekong River tour. The fish was freshly caught from the river. While it tastes like the regular fried tilapia, how it’s eaten is its charm: lumpia style! 

Price: 170,000 VND (~Php 340) Good for two to three people.
Where: Mekong River tour.

6.      Tropical Iced Tea
It’s not just iced tea. There's a thick layer of what seemed like mango shake! Highlands Coffee is everywhere (kinda like Starbucks here), but go to this branch and savor the awesome view of the Parliament and Opera House. There's "normal" food there if you're not in to Vietnamese.

Price: 54,000 VND (~Php 108)
Where: Highlands Coffee, 4th Floor, Saigon Tax Trade Center

7.  Wrapped Banana with Thick Coconut Milk (Chuoi Nep Nuong)
The banana is wrapped in gelatinous rice, which is why it was extra chewy. Surprisingly, this was served warm. There’s a salty aftertaste, which was weirdly delicious. 

Price: 20,000 VND (~Php 40)
Where: Bui Vien St.

8.     Curry Soup with a Baguette
The curry soup was interestingly sweet but had a mild spicy kick. There’s pork, beef, and chicken, which was perfect with the baguette. The black thing is liver–I think–or maybe the lady didn’t understand me and just nodded. 

Price: 30,000 VND (~Php 60)
Where: One of the alleys between Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao St.

9.     Vietnamese Coffee 
Whether hot or cold, it’s everywhere! I’m not a coffee drinker but iced coffee was heaven on a hot day. I would have at least one a day! 

Price: 15,000 – 20,000 VND (~Php 30-40)
Where: Street vendors and almost all restaurants

10.   Hanoi-Style Rice Vermicelli Noodles with Grilled Pork (Bun Cha Hanoi Nem Ran)
The beef and noodles are supposed to be dipped into the sauce. I drank it like soup. No wonder the waiters looked at me funny.

Price: 54,000 VND (~Php 108)
Where: Nha Hang Ngon, 160 Pasteur St.

Whether you’re traveling in a small group or by yourself, try eating street food! For me, these tasted better and were more flavorful than restaurant food. It's cheaper, too! Eat at your own risk, though.

 Hopefully, your stomach's cooperative. I know mine was.

Trying to eat like a local!

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