Indochina Night 1: Tasting the Best of Streetfoods in Saigon

This is the continuation of Day 1 of my Indochina trip. If you want to read the previous part, click here.

It was around 3 in the afternoon when I decided to go out. I went to see Dinh Độc Lập or the Independence/Reunification Palace. It was the headquarters of the former South Vietnam Republic. Now, they turned it into a museum showcasing the different rooms and receiving areas of the former leaders of the defunct republic.

The Independence Palace, the seat of power of the former South Vietnam Republic

I didn’t join a tour guide but I tagged along with some English-speaking guides to learn a little history here and there. I spent less than an hour touring the building before I went to the HCMC Hall to take some pictures.

Selfie in front of Ho Chi Minh monument at the City Hall


It was 6 in the evening when Truc from Back of the Bike Tours picked me up. Earlier, she told me not to eat as we would be having so much food. And boy was she right! We were devouring food faster that I can say Saigon Street Food.

Evening Bike Tour

The first stop is at the park where we were served Papaya Salad. It was made by an old lady pushing a cart. Truc said that if you were a foreigner and you were to ask a local where is the best papaya salad in the city is, they would point you to her. Obviously the recipe is a secret but from what I can tell, she mixed it with fermented liver which was very tasty.

“Goi Du Du Bo” – Julienned Green Papaya Salad topped with Thai Basil, Dried Beef Liver, Toasted Peanuts and Prawn Crackers. Sauced with Chili, Light Soy Sauce and Vinegar
My individual plate for close-up

So we travelled to the next point via motorbike and I must say that riding the motorbike at night was so much exciting and fun. Aside from the rush hour traffic which made the ride more exhilarating, the breeze is so much cooler and the lights in the surrounding were beautiful.

Night Lights in the City

The next stop is a skewers place where I got to pose as the barbecue guy fanning the skewers.

Buy One. Take One. If I’m the fanner
“Heo Nuong” – Grilled Pork Skewers & “Ho Lo Nuong” – Grilled Pork Sausage

The next stop is at a famous seafood restaurant where they served the best crab soup I’ve tasted.

“Banh Canh Ghe” – Ocean Crab Soup with Tapioca Noodles, Pork Rinds, Fried Fish Cake, and Green Chili Sauce

Then we went to another stop where we tried to make the famous Vietnamese rice flour crepe. When I said crepe, I didn’t mean dessert yet. (It will come next) Their crepe is composed of savory ingredients and lots of vegetables!

The first step to make a Vietnamese Rice Crepe is to smile at the camera.
“Banh Xeo” – Crispy Rice Flour Crepe, Stuffed with Shrimp, Pork and Bean Sprouts. Served with Fresh Lettuce and Sweet Fish Sauce
Your ingredients to make the perfect Vietnamese Rolls!

And finally, the desserts! Sticky Mango Rice and Black Rice!

Ice Cream with Sticky Rice and Mango
Ice cream with Black Sticky Rice
Frozen Yogurt with Hibiscus Flower

If there is anything I learned about Vietnam on my first day, it is that the country is a foodie’s paradise. The dishes are an explosion of flavor for your sense of taste.

The next day, I would be cruising the Mekong Delta.

From this trip:

Ho Chi Minh City  1.1 + 1.2 + 2 +  HCMC-PP  3  +  Phnom Penh  4


5 Comments Add yours

  1. rscotttyler says:

    Wow, the pictures are terrific here! Every one makes my mouth water. I want to visit Vietnam!


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