During my travels I love to taste new flavours and discover new cuisine. I’m not the type to eat pizzas or other hamburgers when I’m travelling, I must also say that I’m not picky and I’m greedy. During my trip to South Vietnam, I was spoiled, I enjoyed myself, I discovered new flavours.
Here is an overview of the many dishes I tasted in Vietnam.
Cooking class on the Mekong river
On An Binh Island, opposite the city of Vinh Long on the Mekong River, we stayed at the Ba Linh Homestay. This friendly guest house offers to help prepare the evening meal, which is included in the price of the room.
As we stayed there for two nights, we took two cooking classes. We prepared green papaya salads, spring rolls, spring rolls, egg rolls, vegetable side dishes. Meat and fish from the Mekong were prepared by the pros. Anyway it was a great experience, which guest houses should do more often. What a pleasure to eat what we prepared (or not), it was a delight!
Street food in Ho Chi Minh City
When traveling I avoid as much as possible tourist restaurants, I prefer to eat in the street or in small restaurants, with the locals.
In Ho Chi Minh City, there is a multitude of small street restaurants that fill up from 11:30 am. These places attract me and I am rarely disappointed, the food is often very good and cheap.
In the cities of the Mekong delta, it is in the markets that we often ate, there also a good local cuisine.
The pho is the national dish: a soup of rice noodle in beef broth, with pieces of beef, accompanied by soy sprouts and other herbs. You can find it at any time of the day, on every street corner. I love it, I’ve eaten quite a lot of it during my stay, I can’t get enough of it.
Being from the Southwest I love duck and when I saw these ducks I wanted to eat them. But most of the time they sell the whole duck, to take away, like our roast chickens. In Ho Chi Minh City we found a restaurant that specializes in duck.
We were at the market in Cholon, a district of Ho Chi Minh City when we stumbled upon this young man who was preparing a very good bo bun (or bun bo), we enjoyed it!
The bo bun is a cold salad made of rice vermicelli, topped with sautéed beef and raw vegetables.
In the market of Chau Doc this lady approached us by showing us and making us taste what she was preparing, we sat down to enjoy her good noodle soup with some kind of meat ravioli, a little spicy but delicious!
Delights from the sea
As a native of the Arcachon basin I love fish and seafood. As soon as I can and the conditions are good, I do not hesitate to taste them. In Vietnam I paid attention to the storage conditions. The crabs and shrimps that we tasted (photos below) were in a fish tank, in a small seaside restaurant, one could not dream fresher.
On the other hand, the shells and fishes of this stall did not inspire me, they were in the open air for several hours in the tropical heat, they date from when? I didn’t take the risk to eat them despite my desire and curiosity.
While travelling I am curious but there are two dishes that I did not want to taste: frogs and dog, here are the reasons why.
I like frogs’ legs but when I saw how they were treated in the markets, I boycotted. One day, we were walking in the market of Can Tho, I see a tray of live frogs and right next to it are skinless, peeled frogs. What a horror to discover that these “peeled” frogs were still alive, they were moving, they were skinned alive… I’ll spare you the pictures.
And as far as dogs are concerned, I already have a psychological block but moreover the dogs proposed for consumption are caught in the street or stolen, it can be stray dogs who have diseases like scabies or rabies… Free to you to taste it, I leave you my share, some Vietnamese get sick by eating street dogs. In any case, we haven’t seen any restaurants that serve it, it seems to be more and more rare and especially confined to the north of the country. The Vietnamese have more and more pet dogs.
On the other hand, I would have liked to have tasted some rice rat, but I didn’t have the opportunity, maybe on a future trip to Vietnam?
So, do you feel like Vietnamese food? It’s one of the best food I’ve tasted in the world, we enjoyed it. After this stay in Vietnam, we headed for Singapore and Malaysia where we were also expecting some great taste adventures. And if you are interested in cooking around the world, here is my article on my culinary adventures around the world.