Friday, September 7, 2012

Food Festival - Vietnam Version

Traveling and Saving? Yes. They can go together.

Traveling and Dieting? Bad idea.

Vietnam is heaven for foodies, and hell for dieters. I’ve been trying, really trying to diet (or EAT HEALTHY) this year. But dieting does not complement traveling. I just have to try out the food – and eating healthy is sheer torture during vacation. So the "Eat Healthy" mantra was parked during this entire Indochina Trip.

Food in Vietnam is cheap! You’ve probably read about this a million times. It is a million times true! 

Our first Vietnamese meal is from some restaurant in a side street between the War Remnants Museum and our hotel in the backpackers area. We were famished after a day of touring (with no lunch) and our feet needs to rest. 

Lamangloob soup

Our first dinner is in a restaurant located in one of the streets around Pham Ngu Lao. Their menu is translated to English - a red flag  that the place is intended for tourists. But their food is actually pretty good and flavorful. We ate here twice. One meat dish costs around VND 50,000-60,0000

Veggie rice, fried spring rolls and fried noodles

If you need to spend your VND, it is easy to spend them all in one night of gastronomic festival. The backpacker’s area is teeming with streetfood. Lots of fruit shake stands everywhere.

What is the English word for "Guyabano"?
Have an English lesson with the fruits here.

The food stall at the center of Ben Thanh Market should also be explored. We tried some awesome spring rolls there! Just pick a stall, sit, and eat.

Hating kapatid sa pancit canton

I didn't do a lot of research on must-try restos. I love food, I love eating, but I don't love it enough to do resto research. Sarah's more of a foodie, so she volunteered to do resto research in my latop. We conquered the motorcycle-populated streets of HCMC to go to the REAL Pho Hoa. The real resto is located in Pasteur St - which is a long walk from Pham Ngu Lao. Well, e had the whole afternoon for food and shopping.

Still closed during that time

As expected, we got lost on the way there. We found it anyway. We need a dose of adventure from time to time.

Here we are!

We were the only non-locals in the place. 

The menu has pictures - and it also has an English translation. So you won't get so lost with ordering.

Beef soup and chicken soup, all the greens

With the iced coffee. The drinks have no photos in the menu. The waiter did not understand "Iced Coffee". He had to bring out a glass filled to ice to confirm that our order was "Iced" - or "Da" in Vietnamese.

Our second meal in that restaurant near our hotel.

Chicken in clay pot, fried rolls and rice.

Some takeaway thougts:
  • If you like strong coffee, order their iced coffee forever and ever. Never had a miss with this drink.
  • Observe or ask WHEN you should pay. We got in trouble because we paid while drinking our shake. The vendor collects payment AFTER you finish your drink.  
  • Those leafy greens in the table are used to flavor your meal - free of charge
  • You can get a  dish or meal for VND 50,000 or below. But if you want to try a lot of dishes, a safe estimate would be VND 90,000-VND 100,000 per meal, inclusive of drinks.

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