Eat & Drink like the locals, Ho Chi Minh City

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  • my favorite longkong variety of lansium fruit
    my favorite longkong variety of lansium...
    by machomikemd
  • available at local restos too
    available at local restos too
    by machomikemd
  • more tea
    more tea
    by machomikemd
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    Restaurant, Pheonix Island.: A Mekong Delta Specialty

    by bpacker Updated Oct 6, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Yummy Elephant ear fish

    The best thing about those trips out of HCMC is the opportunity to savour really fresh food from the rural areas. Well, thanks to really helpful tip from a VTer, I went to a Mekong Delta excursion organised by Sinh Cafe and had the opportunity to try a fish with a strange name.

    Favorite Dish: It's called the "Fried Elephant Ear Fish" . Sounds really out of this world right? Well, before you expect a fish with two gigantic ear lobes, let me just say it's actually a normal fish with lots of protruding, spiky scales .

    Well, this spiky bugger is fried to a golden crisp and made to stand upright on lots of greens and spring onions s.haped like flowers. That's not all though, a waitress with really deft hands will tear pieces of the fish out with chopsticks and wrapped the flaky flesh inside a delicate rice paper with lots of basil, mint and vemicelli.

    This treat cost about USD6 and thanks to the new Japanese friends I made during the trip, I had a free taste. Best roll I've ever tried!

    To see more delicious picture of Vietnamese food, click on b'packer's hcmc page

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    Any coffee shop in town: Yummy Vietnamese Coffee

    by bpacker Updated Sep 27, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fancy Coffee, Caravelle Hotel

    According to a Viet Kieu (that's overseas Vietnamese for you ) I spoke to, it takes an average of half an hour to drink the local coffee and 1 min to drink a cup of java in the US. Well, I don't know how many times he must have scalded his tongue in the process but he was right about the local coffee...

    Over here, Vietnamese love to use a fancy coffee strainer that makes coffee drip out in an agonisingly slow fashion. So, too bad if you're a Type A. In any case, it's worth the wait . The coffee is thick but excellent .
    Think Italian expresso. One shot of of this powerful drink is enough to propel you to the moon. Perhaps, this explains why all the motorists over here drive as though they're competing in the grand prix.

    Favorite Dish: You can find coffee everywhere but tell them that you want VIETNAMESE COFFEE. They'll serve you instant coffee since they think we foreigners love this soot-tasting invention.

    Tip: Take the coffee with condensed milk like the locals. Since the composition is about 40% milk and 60% coffee, this drink will make probably your eyeballs roll backwards. But heck, it just doesn't taste the same with fresh milk. Dilute it with hot water if you must.

    Double Tip: If you want to buy back some of the delicious coffee, pop over to BenTanh Market and get freshly ground coffee that comes from "BUONMETHUOT". That's the premier coffee district and all coffee beans from there are roasted in butter! Needless to say, I'm addicted to this fragrant smelling joe

    To see more delicious picture of Vietnamese food, click on b'packer's hcmc page

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    "333" or BA BA BA: Try the local beer

    by bpacker Updated Nov 2, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    %BBa Ba Ba Beer!%B

    The next you want beer in VN, try saying ba ba ba. It's not a booze for sheep but a local white beer ( pilsner ) that is commonly enjoyed by all. My new found French friend also commented that this beer can also be found in gay Paree but it's an abbreviated "33" over there. If any of you Parisians are reading this, could you let me know if this is true? I sure didn't see no "33" when I was there.

    To see more delicious pictures of Vietnamese food, click on b'packer's hcmc page

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    Fried Spring Rolls: Street Food in Vietnam

    by bpacker Updated Sep 27, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Other than Goi Cuon, the commonly seen cold spring rolls, you could also try Cha Gio Chay , the fried version. I had mine in the Mekong Delta region, along with the famed Delta rice which is supposedly very flavourful because of the good flood waters...

    Favorite Dish: This spring roll is fried to a golden crisp and stuffed w/ tofu, cellophane noodles, black mushrooms, carrots, served w/ lettuce, mint, etc.

    To see more delicious picture of Vietnamese food, click on b'packer's hcmc page

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    Stall beside Benh Tan Market: Rice Paper Rolls

    by bpacker Updated Nov 21, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Yummy rice paper rolls

    If you have not eaten Goi Cuon, or the steamed spring roll, you have not been to Vietnam! What is it? Well, yummy pieces of pork, prawns, vemicelli are tightly wrapped around a delicate white skin known as 'rice paper'.

    Favorite Dish: Spring rolls make an excellent light, late-night snack. Just pop over to Ben Tanh in the evening ( yes you read that correctly) , go to the right side of the market where you'll see a long row of stalls and order the rolls from anyone. It should cost less than a dollar.

    To see more delicious picture of Vietnamese food, click on b'packer's hcmc page

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    Eat & Drink like the locals: How to make delicious Pho / Cookery School

    by bpacker Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Yummy Beef Pho

    Thanks to Shrimp56, I've decided to list out delicious recipes collected from all over the world. Here's my own recipe for good Vietnamese Beef Pho. Hopefully, it taste just as good as one found in Pho Hua. However, this looks like Greek to you, you're better off enrolling in the Vietnam Cookery School. It's situated in town and it cost roughly USD30 to learn how to cook good Viet food. Click on my link below for more details.

    Favorite Dish: Pho Bo Recipe - Get the ingredients from a Thai or Chinese supermart. If you're living in Singapore, you can get all these ingredients from the Thai Supermart in GoldenMile Shopping centre.

    Ingredients
    Soup
    1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
    1 medium onion, sliced
    3 1/2 pounds oxtail, cut into 2-inch pieces
    One cinnamon stick
    6 star anise ( this is a spice )
    1 tablespoon sea salt
    1 teaspoon light soy sauce
    One 1-inch piece Chinese yellow rock sugar
    +
    12 ounces, sukiyaki beef
    +
    Garnish
    A basketful of Thai Sweet / Holy Basil, Saw Pine Leaves, Mint Leaves, Sprouts, Sliced Bird's Eye Chilli and Thai Lime Wedges
    +
    Dried Pho

    Now, I just love preparing the Soup the night before in my slow cooker, so that it'll be full of flavour the next day. To start, sautee the onion and ginger till onion turns transluscent. Brown the ox tail next . Transfer the ox tail to a slow cooker and pour 3.5quarts of water. Stir in the spices, salt and sugar. Cook overnight.
    To serve, soak noodles in hot water till its soft. Blanch it later with hot soup. Dry it. Arrange beef slices on top and pour searing hot soup on it. Garnish and serve.

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    Pho 2000: Bill Clinton ate here

    by bpacker Updated Nov 2, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pho 2000, HCMC

    Believe it not, Bill Clinton once made an impromptu stop in one of the Pho shops in HCMC. Kinda like how he would make a pit stop at Mac's in the US. Well, since this wasn't the US, I'm quite sure that he gave all his agents instant cardiac arrests. Along with that, he also made the owner of the shop very, very happy. Snapshotos of the former United States president shaking hands with the owners take the pride of place on a wall, along with more than 7 press reviews.

    Favorite Dish: I popped in here more out of curiousity. The pho here pales in comparison to Pho Hao. Not only was the soup msg-laden, the herb serving was paltry and the beef nonedescript. Maybe they should have called this place "MacPho" in honour of Clinton.
    I staggered out of the shop after I finished my meal as my heart went hippity-hop, post-msg . So much for celebrity endorsement !

    To see more delicious picture of Vietnamese food, click on b'packer's hcmc page

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    Best Won Ton Soup Anywhere!

    by Blatherwick Written Oct 10, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Soup Shop

    I'm going to hate myself for this. This little gem has the best won ton soup anywhere. I can eat 3 bowls per night easily at this place. The price is only 8,000 dong for a won ton soup with egg noodles and vegetables. The family that runs the place makes the noodles during the day and opens up for 5 pm

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    ABC Restaurant: Eating Chinese Food in Vietnam

    by bpacker Updated Dec 28, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Seafood Rice, Coffee

    Don't bother eating Chinese food the next time you're here in Vietnam, it just doesn't taste the same. I made this conclusion after I ate three Chinese restaurants here, one mid-priced eatery, the other near the War Remnants Musuem and yet another at a haute cuisine joint that came complete with a violinist..all were forgettable.

    To see more delicious picture of Vietnamese food, click on b'packer's hcmc page

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    Ben Thanh Market: Just a pho, passing by. . .

    by kokoryko Written Nov 17, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Preparing the food
    1 more image

    In the Ben Thanh Market is a section where you can have a snack, or even have a full meal. I do not specially want to recommend to westerner stomachs to refill here, as many are quite sensitive. . . . Well, I think there is no danger Montezuma will revenge here, as the food is fresh, renewed all time, there are many customers, so, the risk is minimum. And if you just have a soup (I had a noodle pho with meatballs), there is no risk, as the food is cooked and very hot (in both senses of the word!).
    But there are also lots of other dishes, from the classical nems to rice dishes, vegetables. . . . I did not see grilled fish here; so for a snack, why not?

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    Cu Chi Tunnels Underground Cafe: Local Fare

    by TomorrowsAngel Written Dec 31, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    our grub

    After walking around the site of the Cu Chi Tunnels, our guide took us down the steep stairs to yet another underground grotto.
    There was a long table with benches to sit on.

    Favorite Dish: We were served pineapple and cassava with some type of crushed peanuts and sugar mixture to dip the pieces of food into.
    The different textures and tastes complemented each other perfectly. We had the obligatory green tea to wash it all down.

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    Eat & Drink like the locals: Snail street

    by JonnyVN Written Aug 19, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Jake and snails

    This small street stall is my wifes favorite snail place, Vietnamese love freshwater snails and seafood (especially blood clams). It's as much social as it is culinary, sit with a cold beer (well it would be beer with ice) slowly picking your way through plates of winkles, big fat snails, scallops, blood clams and my favorite one which i don't know it's name but its a spiral thing cooked in coconut milk, you just suck the end and it pops out.
    Don't shy away from food on the street, I have never had problems with it.

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    Bach Dang Ice Cream: Coconut Ice Cream

    by Fondest_Memories Updated May 15, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Coconut ice cream is one of my favorite sweets in Saigon(HCMC). The ingredients includes: Vanilla ice cream, dried dates, a waffle roll, and peanuts all served inside a fresh coconut. After ravaging and devouring the ice cream, you can continue on to the coconut. UMMMM YUM YUM GIVE SOME......=)The price, if I remember correctly is about 10,000-15,000 VND which is about $1 USD for each delicious coconut ice cream.

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    Vietnam's food capital

    by dinhyen Updated Apr 16, 2003

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    The KFC in Diamond Plaza, all free-range chicken

    Restaurants seem to be the number one entrepreneurial pursuit here. You can find food everywhere, from sidewalk peddler to corner deli to upscale floating restaurant. Those who are concerned about digestive tract infection should stick to sit-down establishments, however. And even then you shouldn't consume anything that isn't cooked or bottled. That said, my companions and I didn't have any problems, even though we let loose towards the end of our trip. We only wish we had let loose earlier :)

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  • Lan Gio Moi (LGM) Restaurant: Great local cuisine at decent prices

    by vdk2000 Written Jul 29, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    King Snails in Spicy House Sauce
    3 more images

    - Off the beaten path outside of District 1 is a real dining treasure. Still very central though. The restaurant is located on a major street called Cao Thang in District 10 -- in a lively night market area (Ky Hoa Night Market).

    - The ambience is contemporary and very clean. The earth tone decor colours are very soothing and catchy at the same time. The food is delicious!! You have to try their House Special Vietnamese Sald; or Fish Springrolls for appertizers. For more filling entree -- try the House Special Free-Ranching Chicken Hot pot. My favorite is the Tigar Prawns fried with Barleys. Absolutely amazing!!

    - This area has a cluster of restaurants that only the locals frequent. Definitely worth checking it out. Lan Gio Moi Restaurant is, in my humble opinion, the nicest dining venue in the area.

    - It's cozy and small -- although it does have 5 storeys altogether: there are private VIP rooms, lounge room, roof top patio level and open dining level.

    Favorite Dish: Appertizers:
    - House Special Vietnamese Salad: very fresh, vinegry.. yum!!
    - "Thang Long" Vietnamese Salad: kinda like Beef Sashimi but with a Vietnamese cuisine twist!
    - Fish Springrolls: you think you know springrolls.. check this one out!

    Entrees:
    - House Special Hot pot: amazing free-ranch chicken hotpot, juicy and tender!!
    - Tigar Prawns fried with Fresh Barley: my absolute favorite.. creamy and crunchy with fresh prawn goodness...

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