Food to try
Street food in Vietnam has continued to reign supreme even as the most fabulous fusion restaurants and international cuisines have been introduced across the country. If you want something unique and tasty then pull up a stool and be ready for a flavour explosion. Homemade and fragrant street food can be found throughout the day, but after sundown and close to sunrise are the busiest foodie moments on the streets. Food is sold from carts, baskets, front rooms of homes, boxes attached to a motorbike and barbecues perched precariously on a kerb. It’s always best to follow a crowd and stop by a busy stall where the turnover is high and the food is being cooked in front of you. Grab a wedge of lime and run it along your chopsticks to sanitise them and then dive right in. The grey powder with lime and chilli is your seasoning; best not to know what it is really – just add it to your food for a powerful punch. Street Food permeates every alleyway in Saigon so be sure to try: Cha gio – fried spring rolls. Banh cuon – fresh rice paper rolls. Barbecue meats, usually fanned over coals and served on skewers. Most popular: com tam suon nuong - broken rice with a pork chop. Banh mi (baguettes) with lashings of meat, jalapeños, pâté and herbs. Banh xeo – the delicate lacy crêpe filled with meat and seafood. Pho – the most common noodle soup, usually made with beef stock and served with slivers of beef. Bun mam – a rice noodle seafood broth with prawns and finished with eggplant. Bun muc – soothing pork broth, with pork meatballs and chunks of sausage Bun cha – tiny pork patties barbecued over hot coals and served with vermicelli, herbs, garlic and a sour soupy sauce. Chao tom – barbecued shrimp paste on sugar cane. Bo la lot – seasoned beef rolled into a fresh betel leaf and barbecued until smoky and charred. Fresh fruit with chilli and salt.