… or at least that was my impression as I began to explore Saigon’s culinary offerings.
I am not even talking of street food yet, but chow you can enjoy in a restaurant setting. Bangkok and Manila can probably give Ho Chi Minh City a run for its money but as I said in my previous post, we’re talking here of food that’s good, fast, fresh, cheap and consistent, one that involves a generous serving of meat and seafood.
Here’s what I found:
Goi cuon or fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce for three pieces at 24000 dong or approximately $1.22, 40 cents apiece. See the deveined prawns. Seafood is so expensive in Manila that I can’t probably get a good dish with prawns for only $1.
For my first meal in Ho Chi Minh, I ordered this delicious bun cha gio (vermicelli rice noodles with shrimp roll). The price: 45,000 Vietnamese dong or $2.30 dollars. We ate at Quan An Thanh Binh near Ben Thanh market 🙂
Of course when you’re in Vietnam, it’ a must that you eat pho and everyone offers good versions, whether it’s a street vendor or a fastfood chain. Hubby ordered this pho bo (beef noodle soup) in Pho 2000, a local chain in front of Saigon Square where former US president Bill Clinton once ate in the year 2000. This order was priced at 42,000 dong or $2.14 for a regular hot bowl of soup.
Also in Pho 2000, I ordered their savory chicken curry with bread for almost the same price. Chicken curry or cary ga is a common dish in Saigon. It is chicken simmered in coconut milk, Indian curry powder, lemon grass and other ingredients. Vegetables like potatoes, carrots and okra are often added into the mix. So yummy. I paired this meal with sapodilla shake ($1)
Fillet mignon steak served with bread, egg and French fries at Quan An Ngon, one of the city’s best restaurants for only 48,000 dong or $2.44. I loved how the meat turned out to be very tender and tasty. We have our 99 peso steaks but they don’t quite come close to the quality of this one.
Also in Quan An Ngon, grilled beef skewer for 28,000 dong or $1.42 for one stick. Again, I loved how this beef barbecue was so tender with its own mouthwatering sauce. It also came with a salad and a dip of lemon and salt, but then again the beef bbq can be enjoyed on its own, without the condiments.
Hubby’s still reminded of our traumatic experience of paying $80 for a simple coffeeshop snack in Singapore so I was quite relieved to find a complete meal of iced coffee, generously served smoked salmon salad, chips and soup at MOF Japanese Coffee for only 79,000 dong or $4. A salad meal with iced coffee for only $4….is there any way the local Starbucks can offer this soon? 😀