Today started with a visit to a cricket farm on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh city. This is the second time this year, I have tried crickets (the first time was Mexico City). I tried one, but could not try a large portion in the rice roll as the locals do. They were cooked in garlic, and tasted fine, but this is not something I would eat regularly.
After this, we headed to the Cu Chi tunnels. I was disappointed to learn that much of what we saw was a replica and/or not one knew for sure about the history of much of what we saw. Although this is a major attraction in the area, I would skip it all together.
Although we drove to the tunnels, we took a boat back to Saigon on the Saigon River, and avoided all the traffic. Its always nice to be on a boat, especially feeling the cool breeze on a hot and humid day, but the river is heavily polluted.
In the evening, I did a street food tour of Saigon. THIS IS WHAT YOU COME FOR!
Stop 1 Bahn Mi
This was my favorite thing I have eaten here so far. The bread is fresh and perfect as are all the fillings.
Stop 2 – Pho
The second best thing I ate tonight – Pho. Delicious broth. I was told that this was authentic Northern Style.
Stop 3 – Rice Paper “taco”
This was just OK. The lady put some cheese, hot dog bits, and other random items in them.
Stop 4 – Vietnamese Crepes – Bahn Xeo
I have had this a couple of times outside Vietnam, and have always thought they were just OK. I was excited to try them in Vietnam….the verdict…still just OK.
Stop 5 – Snails
The Vietnamese eat these with beer. Its drinking food. The sauce for the snails was a tamarid based one, and absolutely delicious. I also had clams which were very fresh.
Stop 6 – Broken Rice and Pork
Its called broken rice because the grains are fragmented; they look like “half” grains of rice. Its a popular dish in the south. I had it with grilled pork and various pickled veg. It was good.
Stop 7 – Coffee
Of course, the last stop had to be coffee. Although I take mine black everywhere else, and hot, there is something nice about an iced coffee with a bit of sweetness from the condensed milk, in a hot climate like Saigon. The coffee here is strong enough to balance the sweetness of the milk, and its delicious.