Street food is an important part of every day life in Vietnam and the tastiest way to get to know the culture.
1. The best place in Ho Chi Ming City to try street food is at the Pham market. One of the first dishes you have to try is “Ban Xeo”, which is a large crispy omelet with prawns, pork, beansprouts, spring onions and tones of oil. The golden crepe (rice pancake) is accompanied with a fresh array of vegetables like basil, a savoury leaf (which they call the fish leaf), a large leaf that tastes like wasabi, and a range of others I dont know the names of. Together the flavours fuse into an incredibly crispy, savoury, minty mix!
It’s a messy dish because you eat with your hands so take some wet wipes with you. You break the “Ban Xeo” into pieces and then pack it onto the big fish leaf with an assortment of the other leaves, sprouts and onions. You roll it into a spring roll with the lettuce and dip it in the fish sauce as you eat it. Absolutely delicious!!!
2. If you can imagine beef noodle soup for breakfast, then you decidedly want to try “Pho”, aVietnamese dish that has been around for nearly 100 years. You will find a pho shop on nearly every street. The small local “Pho” shops are the best even though they might not always look as clean as you would want them to.
In this classic soup, paper-thin slices of beef are cooked with rice noodles in individual serving bowls into which hot beef stock, herbs and spices have been added. Just be sure to ask for the chillies on a side dish so that you can add it too taste other wise your “Pho” might be too spicy to eat.
3. Another fabulous Vietnamese food source to try are the small family home restaurants. Some of them can only accommodate a few diners and are called “Rice Places”. You can usually get a dish of fish, chicken or pork with rice and vegetables for a very decent price. They usually have very tasty dishes but you have to make sure to get there early before they run out of the best dishes. Eating at one of these Rice Places works out cheaper than what it would cost you to cook that dish for yourself at home. It is here that I was introduces to tea-eggs. Eggs boiled in tea so they are brown in colour. They are tastier than what they look, trust me.
Overall food in Ho Chi Ming City is great, there is something for every taste.