Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City, 16 – 21 August 2011

This was a library research trip. It’s been about a year since I last visited Ho Chi Minh City. Some changes? More new hotels; even taller buildings. But at least the strip that I walked so often in district 1 is still about the same.

Well, since I was there, I tried more new dishes. So, here goes:

  • Banh Beo Hue (Hue Rice Cakes?) in Ben Thanh Market:
This costs 13000 dong (about 70 cents usd). At first, it just looks like a plate of rice cakes with a pork pate. But when you actually eat it, it is quite interesting. Not all of the tiny rice cakes were created equal. Some of them were just straight up, chewy rice cakes, but there were some that were filled with prawns, while there were others filled with what I believe to be a bean paste. Topped with fried shallots and fish sauce, this was definitely a winner in my book. I went to the one by the corner, nearer to Le Thanh Ton. Just look for the crowd of people eating there, or the people who do like 15 portions of take-away.
Banh Beo Hue
  • Banh Khoai in Mon Hue by Le Thanh Ton (just a little off Ben Thanh Market)
I wanted to have some Bun Bo Hue, and try some other side dish, so I hopped into this central Vietnamese restaurant. Some of the stuff there looked really beautiful, like the spring rolls arranged in the form of a phoenix (~170000 dong). I didn’t try those. I had a Bun Bo Hue (beef rice noodle soup, Hue-style), which was not quite to my liking, since it was kinda sweet, and not as spicy as I hopped it would be. Anyway, the new dish I tried was the Banh Khoai (~35000 dong). My best explanation is that it is the Vietnamese version of a quiche, but this was topped with mushrooms, prawns, and sliced pork. Taste-wise, it was actually quite decent, but I couldn’t exactly finish it, as towards the end, it was just kinda greasy. Maybe it’d have been better if it was shared.
Banh Khoai
  • Bun Moc in Quan An Ngon on Pasteur Street
The Bun Moc can be found at various street vendors, but since I like Quan An Ngon so much, no trip to Vietnam is complete without it. Anyway, it is a rice noodle in broth with sliced pork and pork balls, and was about 45000 dong in Quan An Ngon. I liked it, but otherwise, I don’t quite know what else to write about it. I guess for me, what makes a Vietnamese soup dish for me is the filling, and since I liked the filling for this one, it worked out.
Bun Moc
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