« District 1, Saigon | Main | En route to Nha Trang »

More eats around Saigon/HCMC

Although it looks a little thin on fillings, this banh mi is pretty representative of what you might get at a street stand. Since the pate and pork are pretty salty, there's plenty of flavor to carry the whole sandwich. This one was 6,000 VND or about US$0.38.


As you probably have figured out by now, duck is one of my favorite things to eat, up there with pork and lamb. I read about a rice soup variation with duck, and I decided to seek it out. It was about 3 miles from the hotel in the Thanh Da area, so it also gave me a chance to see more of the city. The restaurant that had been discussed is apparently closed (on the left, with the red signage), but there's another one a few doors down that was serving the same thing.


It's rice soup, I think made with duck stock, some finely shredded cabbage, pickled onions, some hacked up duck with crispy shallots, but what makes it all work is a sweet, ginger-chili sauce. This is the first time I've seen any fresh veg to be added with chao (rice soup), and it's a nice addition. Usually chao is like comfort food, just starchy and mild and easy to digest. Between the fresh veg and the ginger sauce, this is quite bright and lively.


When people talk about Vietnamese coffee, more specifically they're often referring to ca phe sua da, which is coffee with milk over ice. In this case, the milk is sweetened, condensed milk, and the coffee comes in an individual drip press. It's about espresso strength, so the milk and melting ice help smooth it out a bit. At a street stand or a bar, they'll usually mix it for you, but it's more fun to get it at a coffee shop where you can go through the whole procedure yourself. Depending on the place, they may bring out a small glass of iced tea to drink while waiting for the coffee to brew. When the water has dripped through the filter, you can decide how aggressive you want to be with pressing out the grounds and collecting slow drips. Then mix the coffee and milk to dissolve the milk while the coffee is hot, then dump it into the ice and mix well. The coffee seems to have a nice cocoa aspect to it anyway, and the milk empasizes that.


Here's a well known banh xeo stand tucked back off the main street, Banh Xeo 46A. For some reason, it's more common in many places I've been to see direct competitors right next to each other. In the US, most restaurants try to be the only bakery or Italian restaurant on their block, etc. There's another banh xeo place just across the alley, a big fancy place, and it's empty. Just another thing to notice when choosing where to eat.


Note the mountain of two kinds of lettuce and three kinds of herbs. I really like banh xeo, but tends to be oily. This one isn't overly oily, but I personally don't like when the shrimp aren't peeled, as they are in this one. They're not hard shells, and are definitely edible, but I think it takes away from the dish. I made the mistake of having lime juice (limeade), and it was probably made with tap water. It put a hurt on me later, albeit temporarily.


Passionfruit and soursop sorbets from Fanny Ice Cream, with lotus root tea.




Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)