It was the first time in my life to travel alone. I got a mission to go to Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon. I was there for 3 days only and I didn’t have much free time, so my plan was to hang around the hotel where I stayed. I was staying at Duc Vuong Hotel, Bui Vien Street. This area is similar to Khao Sarn road in Bangkok but I don’t think it is busy as Khao Sarn. The room was clean enough, their staff were friendly and speak very good English. Unfortunately, I arrived late at night because of a delayed flight from Bangkok, so I decided to just try the hotel’s food.
My appetizer was Vietnamese spring rolls. It was pretty small but you get what you pay for! They were 55,000 Dong which is only $3!!!! I couldn’t believe how cheap it was.
My main course was noodles! I love noodles and they are very popular here. They have food photos on the menu but maybe it was too dark. I thought I ordered egg noodles but actually they were MAMA noodles (a brand of instant noodles which are very popular in Thailand)!!!
The next day, after I worked (hard) in the morning. My friends Tran and Tony took me to a nice local restaurant ( NOI DAT at 14 BH Thanh Quan, P6,Q3.) Tran ordered local food for me. The first dish was DAU HU KHOI LUA. He told me that Dau Hu means Tofu. It is a hot dish, served in a foil, inside is egg tofu, mushroom, carrot, Chinese vegetable, shrimp, and squid. It is a very good combination for a hot dish and perfect for people who don’t like spicy.
The next one was Suon Non Rang Tra Xanh (ribs). Tra Xanh means Green tea, so green tea leaf was one of the main ingredients to make this dish more tasty. The rest of the ingredients were bell peppers, onions, and pork ribs. I really like this one because I can taste the spice but it wasn’t too spicy.
Last but not least, Goi Xoai Kho Ca Sac, it was a fried fish salad! In Thailand, we called this kind of fish “SLID”. I love this one because it has raw mango. By the way, Xoai means mango 🙂
The last one was for fans of vegetables: Banh Xeo. In Thai we call it “Kanom Beaung Yuan”. In English, it means pancake. It had bean sprouts and shrimp. They gave us a big basket of vegetables. You use the big leaves to wrap the food and dip it in the sauce.
The next day, my work was not busy, so I had more time to do sightseeing. I went to the War Remnants Museum and the fee was 15,000 Dong. They open every day from 7:30am-12:30 pm, and close for lunch. They open again in the afternoon at 1:30-5:00 pm. It was depressing to see what humans did to each other. I hope we can learn from the past and not make the same mistakes again.
After 2 hours at the War Remnants Museum, I walked to the reunification palace but I didn’t go inside and then walked back to have lunch with Tran. On the way back, a guy riding a cyclo (a 3 wheel bicycle taxi) kept following me from the palace to the museum, such a good effort to find a customer!
My last meal in Saigon, Tran took me to a nearby coffee shop “Caphe Suoi Da”. It is a cafe for local people to come for reunions, work, or even for job interviews (according to what Tran told me) because it has a nice garden, decent selection of food, good coffee, and FREE wifi too! Tran ordered Pho for me. Pho is a famous noodle dish in Vietnam. It is a big bowl of noodle with pork ribs, shrimp, and liver. The Vietnamese love vegetables; they brought a vegetables plate out. I was also impressed with the drink, I ordered watermelon and it had a BIG piece of watermelon hung on the glass. Love it 🙂
My tips for crossing the street here is just keep walking and flow with the traffic. Don’t hesitate, just keep walking 😉