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Vietnam, Timeless Charm

Vietnam, Timeless Charm

A compilation of delectable cuisine as I search for the best foods around the globe. The best experience of the culture of a country.
Julius Lim
Julius Lim
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When you have been feasting on local street food, you will be slightly taken aback upon seeing the prices here but being in an air-conditioned and more comfortable setting, it is justifiable for many to pay the extra premium to have a meal here. With an extensive menu of the usual brunch/lunch items, they do have local Vietnamese cuisine but made with a more contemporary touch. However, I couldn’t bear to pay so much more for a banh mi here when I can get much better ones by the streets. Hence, since I am in a café, what better than to order some brunch food such as the Pancakes (130,000 VND) and Linguine Clams Pasta (170,000 VND). The stack of pancakes stood out for me and the texture is more of the dense kind, served with honeycomb butter, berry jam, maple syrup and cream. Not taking the shine off the pasta, it was good with the huge and juicy clams but I am more used to linguine vongole which uses white wine rather than a tomato sauce base here.
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L’usine
Address: 151, Đồng Khởi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

#vietnam #hochiminh #foodyhcm #foodysaigon

1 Like

My second most favourite bahn mi joint which only opens in the evenings from 4:30pm-5:00pm till sold out. They will start off grilling these pork patties by the street alley before pushing their street cart to along the roadside when dusk. However, you can still get your banh mi fix when they are grilling or after they have parked their cart. Nonetheless, what matters most is the banh mi itself and these pork patties are like sliders in a hamburger but this time round, it’s stuffed inside a baguette. The patties come with a sweet glaze which I suspect might be teriyaki and similar to some stalls, they only sell one item in the entire menu, which is the Bánh Mì Thịt Nướng. Besides the pork patties, the usual fresh greens and pickled vegetables are included inside the sandwich. For the cost of 16,000 VND, this is the cheapest and one of the tastiest banh mis that I’ve have during this trip.
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Bánh Mì Thịt Nướng Hẻm 37
Address: 37, Nguyễn Trãi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Serving a single origin coffee bean, the flavor profile is something that doesn’t really appeal to me as I prefer mine stronger and chocolatey. Besides their coffee, they do serve several tea options and a limited range of cakes such as the one pictured which they literally used an entire ball of salted egg and paired it with a cream based sponge and some chicken floss. The sweet savory combination is definitely for an acquired taste.
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Thinker & Dreamer Coffee
Address: Lầu 4, 42 Nguyễn Huệ, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

#vietnam #hochiminh #foodyhcm #foodysaigon #thinkeranddreamercoffee

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A very different experience as opposed to the hustling and bustling of busy Saigon, the time inside here passes a teeny whinny bit slower. Additionally, for a place that is so elegantly furnished, it is a stark contrast to the overall outlook and condition of the building that houses it.
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Partea – English Tearoom
Address: 42, Nguyen Hue Street, The Café Apartment, District 1, Level 4, 700, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

#vietnam #hochiminh #foodyhcm #foodysaigon #parteaenglishtearoom

She is so famous that she even got her own cookbook that she retails at her humble stall that’s constructed at one of those empty spaces by the shophouses; away from the bustling neighbourhood.

Specializing in soup noodles, The Lunch Lady serves diners a different kind of soup noodle each day and this was what I got when I went on a Tuesday. Overall, my 40,000 VND bowl of egg noodles comes with thinly sliced char siew, minced pork, prawns and a deep fried prawn cake, submerged in a somewhat similar to wanton noodles broth. Very hearty portion that will definitely fill you up but not one of the tastiest foods that I have had during this trip. However, the experience of eating a bowl of noodles on a plastic table while sitting on those mini stools, under the shade of tall trees makes this trip to The Lunch Lady worthwhile.
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The Lunch Lady
Address: Phường Đa Kao, District 1 (Quan 1), Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

#vietnam #hochiminh #foodyhcm #foodysaigon #thelunchlady

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Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good banh mi but it’s just that the other two places that I’ve been to are so much tastier even though they do not have a reputation as big as Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa. With a legendary standing and mass following, Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa is so popular that there will queues of people in line waiting throughout their operating hours. It can even afford to open only from 3:30pm onwards daily but yet sales have definitely not been affected a single bit. Only having a single item in the menu and easily one of the more expensive sandwiches around at 36.000 VND each, you will be rewarded with slices of meat, pate, pork floss and pickled vegetables inside the baguette. However, there is just something that I cannot put my head and palate to that is lacking which makes this ranked 3rd in my list.
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Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa
Address: 26, Lê Thị Riêng, Bến Thành, 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Without much hesitation, my eyes zoomed in to the Phở Tai (70,000 VND), which is a bowl of rice noodles topped with sliced raw beef. When served, the beef is of a medium rare doneness after the boiling broth is scooped into the noodles. The X-factor in this bowl of phở is definitely the beefy broth that brings about a balance of sweetness and savouriness, further accentuated by the addition of the humble onion and chopped-up spring onion. As you slurp up the noodles and broth, you will find yourself finishing the bowl clean within minutes. This breakfast for champions will definitely fill you up to last through the morning till lunchtime.
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Phở Hòa Pasteur
Address: 260C, Pasteur, phường 8, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

#vietnam #hochiminh #foodyhcm #foodysaigon

4 Likes

Many has claimed that street food is “about roughing it out”, and this place is a clear example. However, amidst all the roughing it out, this place clearly showcases an alternate magical experience, a hidden gem beneath the bustling streets, that I will choose any other day from the comfortable cafe/restaurant settings. This kind of backyard environment at Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền has its own unique flavour and attractive charm to it that I will highly recommend you to come try if you’re in Ho Chi Minh city. To me the food will always triumph over ambience or the Instagram factor.

There is no English menu and the staff speaks minimal English as well, so your best bet is to follow what I did which is to whip out my phone, head over to Mark Wiens’ @migrationology blog and show them “Cơm tấm bì chả sườn trứng ốp la” which literally means the broken rice plate with the entire full works of shredded pig skin, Vietnamese meatloaf, deep fried egg with a runny yolk, pickled vegetables and the shining beacon of them all, which is the freshly charcoal grilled humongous pork chop. With a smokey aroma and a sweet and salty flavour from the marinate, this pork chop is every pork fan’s dream come true. In true Vietnamese fashion, a small bowl of Vietnamese fish sauce is served with the com tam. Everything on the plate just manages to blend harmoniously to create a whole new experience that I’m glad I made the trip down.
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Cơm Tấm Ba Ghiền
Address: 84, Đặng Văn Ngữ, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

#vietnam #hochiminh #foodyhcm #foodysaigon

2 Likes

The place is split into two sides, the roadside makeshift charcoal grill that’s used to prepare all the pork skewers and once ready, these skewers are transported back to the restaurant where the dish is constructed and served. The base is formed by the rice noodles and topped by crushed peanuts, pickled vegetables, cha gio (Vietnamese deep fried spring roll) and those awesome grilled pork. Throw is some fish sauce dressing, mix them up and you will get an absolute showstopper of a meal.
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Bún Thịt Nướng Chị Tuyền
Address: 195, Cô Giang, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

#vietnam #hochiminh #foodyhcm #foodysaigon

1 Like

My initial fears would be that the roll sheets were too thick or the entire dish is bland. However, I was so glad to be proven wrong as Bánh Cuốn (38,000 VND) has such a thin and chewy exterior while the inside is packed with a mix of minced pork and wood-ear mushrooms. Steamed and rolled upon order, you will be assured that you will get a roll of freshly made Bánh Cuốn that is complemented even further with the fresh vegetables, fried shallots and nuoc cham, a sweet version of the Vietnamese fish sauce.
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Bánh Cuốn Hải Nam
Address: 11A, Cao Thắng, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

#vietnam #hochiminh #foodyhcm #foodysaigon

3 Likes

In true Mark Wiens style, this local Vietnamese breakfast was a wholesome and comforting breakfast that makes the traveling there all the more worthwhile. Once reached, you will be ushered into one of their makeshift tables by the roadside and they have provided tiny stools that might be slightly uncomfortable from the first sitting. However, to be truly immersed in the Vietnamese street food culture, this is as authentic of an experience as you can get anywhere else.

Moving on the Bánh Mì Ôp La, which is what most if not all diners will usually order, is a personal skillet of sunny side up eggs with slices of ham and sausages, served with toasted baguette. Tear apart the baguette, break the egg yolks and stack it up with some meat, and it will be a bite of euphoria and sheer pleasure. Best breakfast in Saigon? This definitely gets my vote for it.
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Bánh Mì Hòa Mã
Address: 53, Cao Thắng, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

#vietnam #hochiminh #foodyhcm #foodysaigon

4 Likes

What they do differently here is that they use kampung chicken which is much smaller than the regular farmed chicken but has a firmer and chewier meat texture. When poached, the skin develops a brighter shade of yellow with lesser fat underneath. In addition to the chicken, the other two important components of chicken rice is the rice itself and the accompanying chili dip. Here, the rice is less fluffy and has a stickier consistency (similar to glutinous rice) while the chilli has a slight spicy tangy mouthfeel, with a much thicker consistency more similar to a sauce then dip. Overall, my vote still goes to the familiar flavours back home.
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Cơm Gà Đông Nguyên - 东源鸡饭
Address: 801, Nguyễn Trãi P14 Q5, phường 14, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

#vietnam #hochiminh #foodyhcm #foodysaigon

"The greatest gift from travelling is to bring home a memorable food experience" #aworldtoeat

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