After the husband and I visited Vietnam for the first time in 2011, we have revisited Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, multiple times. And every single time, the sheer charm and beauty of the place has blown me away.The city has somehow managed to maintain a beautiful balance of modernity, with the shiny, tall buildings and bustling activity, and the refreshing touch of old school charm with a sense of peace and quiet.
But this post is not just about the beauty of the place, it is all about food. I know I have said it before and I say it again… There’s no taste like the taste of Vietnam! From simple and soothing rice noodle soup to soups of the more adventurous kind, I’m yet to come across anything I have truly disliked here. Of course, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most adventurous of eaters, but I’ve still managed to try a WIDE variety of fish, from white fish to eels, and meats of many kinds! You can never go wrong with “street side” food here, and you will surely never go hungry owing to the fact that there are food stalls and small restaurants aplenty on every street in the city, every few feet. Fancy a sandwich? No problem. Just walk down any road and you are bound to come across a stall selling freshly baked baguettes (Banh Mi) with your choice of meats to fill. And you’ll get your greens with every meal. A huge bunch. A whole lot of deliciously crunchy leaves of many kinds. So there really is no need to feel guilty while you gobble down oodles of noodles and juicy pieces of meat.
This time round, we had a chance to grab a bite at Quan Bui, a restaurant serving local flavours. It is one of those places that seems like its a small,cozy place. But don’t be fooled by what you see from the outside. It opens up into two floors of space nicely held together by a pretty cool theme… wooden tables and benches, throw cushions, foliage-hidden nooks and booths, and pastel coloured walls. And then they hand you the rather impressive and expansive menu! I know I had a hard time making up my mind on what to eat. And every single thing we got were scrumptilicious. One thing I must admit, the Vietnamese make veggies taste SO good. Even my purely carnivorous brother and my husband dearest both agreed with me wholeheartedly…for once. And the best part is that it is totally affordable.
So if you’re looking for a sit down with the local cuisine, this place is well worth a visit. They have a wide variety of food to choose from and a rather interesting choice of drinks too.
I can’t but say of course that trying out the street food is a MUST, especially if you’re on holiday and visiting HCMC. Another of my all-time favourite dishes in Vietnam is Bun Cha; a delightful rice noodle dish served with succulent slices of grilled pork and barbecued pork cutlets. It NEVER lets me down. This is best eaten with the sweet and spicy sauce and the leafy greens that come with it. I can never leave Vietnam without eating Bun Cha atleast once during a trip there.
For me, Vietnam is all about the food, the smiling people and the beauty of the place. Ive been truly lucky to have been given the chance go back again and again, and relive everything just once more and yet again!