The food in Vietnam is delicious!!
If you ever get the chance to go to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam you definitely have to try the following dishes or places.
1. “Wrap and roll”, on 62 Hai Ba Trung Street, in District 1, this is my favourite spring roll place in the whole city. Their fresh spring rolls are served with a peanut dipping sauce (Nuoc Cham) or a sweet chilli sauce if you prefer something spicy. These spring rolls are a refreshing change from the usual fried variety, and they are great as an appetizer or even a meal.
The food and also the service is good. I usually had the shrimp on sugar cane skewers that you then make your own spring rolls with. The fish salad is served with a big plate of assorted shrubbery like basil, mint, and lettuce, and a small pile of vermicelli noodles. You then roll it all up in rice paper wrapper and dip it in the bowl of fish or sweet chilli sauce and it’s perfect.
2. Another great and traditional Vietnamese place with great spring rolls and desserts is “Ngong”, just across from the reunification palace. It has fabulous Vietnamese deserts and great lemon grass clams. You make your own spring rolls here as well but the best part for me here was the desert!
Fresh fruits are the most popular desserts in Vietnam, but “Chè“ is the most traditional Vietnamese dessert. It’s a sweet pudding usually made from mung beans, bananas, coconut milk, pearl tapioca, sweet yam or yucca root vermicelli and sugar. At Ngong they drown the desert in fresh coconut juice which makes it irresistible. This is undoubtedly my favourite desert in Vietnam.
3. If you are up for some strange food there is always “Bo Tung Xeo Restaurant” at 31 Ly Tu Trong. Here you can treat yourself to uncommon dishes such as crocodile, frog, grasshoppers, shrimps, ostrich, scorpion, snake and rat.
You get your own little Vietnamese barbecue at your table, with the raw meat served to you, which you then prepare on the grill on your table. Their speciality is marinated beef, but the crocodile is a winner and we went back a couple of times just for shrimp and crocodile.
Personally I would not recommend the deep fried scorpion as its very crunchy and mostly just shell. I tried this on my birthday and never again. The grasshoppers are quite good although they are a bit crunchy and the crocodile is excellent. If you want to try the snake, have minced snake, as the whole snake in soup is just too bony and disgusting to actually enjoy and I ended up leaving half of mine untouched.
If you want this same experience but with a bit more luxury or more up market, go to the “Temple club” on Ton That Thiep street. They basically serve the same food as in Bo Tung Xeo but there are more westerners around and they even have music playing.
4. You will find a couple of great French restaurants throughout the city. For lunch “Au Parc” was my favourite. It is close to the reunification palace so a great place to stop for lunch while exploring the city. They have great chocolate deserts, filling salads, excellent sandwiches and fresh fruit shakes.
For dinner you should try “Le Jardin” on Thai Van Lung street, it is a charming little French bistro with the best brown onion soup I have ever tasted. It has a lovely atmosphere and is always packed so be sure to make a reservation before going.
5. If you were in the mood for Japanese cuisine the best place would be “Sushi Bar” on Le Thanh Ton street in District 1. Sushi Bar boasts of very friendly and attentive service and absolutely scrumptious food.
Sushi Bar does not have only Sushi specialties but Sashimi and other Japanese specialties can be sampled here too. One important feature of the cuisine is that it uses only the freshest of ingredients either bought from local markets or imported from Japan. Since over 45 varieties of Sushi and Sashimi are served up, you can pick and choose and come back countless times without being able to taste them all.
They don’t just serve “normal” sushi they have the best-fried sushi that I have ever tasted. Make sure to sample some of their Tempura, rice or one of their noodle specialties.