Saigon is a metropolis in southern Vietnam with over 7 million people; some say there are upwards of 9 in the area. Although often referred by its present-day name of Ho Chi Minh City, many still call the place by its old name of Saigon.
A big attraction in a short trip is always about the food. The out-of-this-world traffic points to everybody in a big hurry on the go, and it will seem the entire population is on their motorbikes. This suggests everybody is also hungry, all the time.
There are of course many places, stalls, and carts in town, but if you’d like to sit down under cover and see what others are eating, you might give these places in central Saigon a try.
Pho Thai Son
Everything in the pho here points to the cow : long-simmered beef broth with herbs, thin rice noodle, beef slices, beef ball, beef tripe, beef marrow, chili peppers, fresh basil & cilantro. You’ll likely be the only foreigner dining here, and that’s because locals know this is superb stuff. A bowl of pho costs between 30 and 40 thousand VND, or about $1.5 to $2 USD. If you’re daring, the cow’s blood soup is savory, smooth, and delicious.
Xoi Ga Number One
At about 5pm, this humble “hole-in-the-wall” with cold metal chrome tables and cheap plastic seating is frequented by locals after they’ve just left work. Before arriving at home, many stop to snack on summer rolls, a small bowl of noodles, a light salad, or to sip on a cold beer.
Wrapped in thin translucent rice-flour skins, these rolls are made on the spot with fresh ingredients : one roll with Vietnamese sausage, dried shrimp, manioc, and vermicelli, a second roll with pork, shrimp, lettuce, cilantro, and vermicelli. Each roll has its iwn dipping sauce. To top all this, we have a salad, consisting of deep-fried bef strips on a bed of papaya “pasta”, the papaya chopped so thin that the appearance is like noodles from afar.
Nhu Lan occupies a large chunk of the northwest corner of Ham Nghi and Ho Tung Mau. Shoppers can pick up fresh bread, fresh barbecue meat, freshly roasted meat, among a wide variety of other food. But for hungry customers, they can also dine in a modest sit-down section with long tables and shared seating. The noodles are good and filling, the banh mi is very good, the fruit smoothies are cool, smooth, and delicious. You will not be able to stop at one … of anything.
I swear by the orange-strawberry-mango or the orange-strawberry-pineapple smoothies …
The food photos above were made with a 4th-generation iPodTouch on 25 and 27 June 2012. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
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