STYLISH TRAVEL ON A BUDGET IS POSSIBLE
You’re a stylish jet-setter who’s committed to travel. You need to see, feel, taste, touch, but your coins are limited, so you don’t go as frequently as you would like to. You can’t afford to. But when you do go, you submerge yourself in the destination’s culture as much as you possibly can. Those are the globetrotters we’re talking to. Sound like you? Keep reading…
Eating in Vietnam consist of way more than pho and bahn mi sandwiches. They are definitely a favorite of ours and probably yours too. The yummy delights that combine a French baguette with pork, pate and a medley of fresh veggies, date way back to Vietnam’s colonial past. And while we respect the food’s history, today we’re encouraging you to adventure outside of your culinary comfort zone and try some of these eats the next time you’re in Vietnam.
XOI YEN: 35b Nguyen Huu Huan Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ah, sticky rice. Here in America it’s super underrated – and usually just an afterthought. Something you tack on to the side of your meal, to accompany your meat, right? Wrong. In Vietnam, this is an excellent breakfast dish, comes both be sweet and salty, often depending on where in Vietnam you are. A northern style xoi bap is a sticky rice with corn mixed in and topped with mung bean, fried shallots and sugar. For a savory option, try xoi man, which has dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, green onion and soy sauce. XOI YEN is your one-stop-shop for the BEST sticky rice in Vietnam. Plus, their menu full of Vietnamese-French fusion dishes that you’d be foolish not to try.. Oh, and did we mention, a bowl of sticky rice only costs $0.62. That’s right, 62 CENTS! #nomnom
BA DUONG: K280/23 Hoang Dieu, Da Nang, Thanh Pho Da Nang, Vietnam
France has crepes, Vietnam has banh xeo. Banh xeo, which means “sizzling cake” in Vietnamese, is a savory fried pancake that you can enjoy any time of day. It’s made of rice, flour, water, turmeric powder and stuffed to your belly’s content with pork, shrimp, green onion, bean sprouts and a slew of other good stuff. In the south, banh xeo contains coconut milk, and in central Vietnam there’s no turmeric powder – but either way, you can’t go wrong. At BA DUONG pancakes are served hot and crispy, but before you get too excited and stuff it in your mouth, remember to add your own herbs or accompanying vegetables and dip it in the sweet or sour fish sauce which usually comes with it.
BANH CANH CUA 320: 320 Vo Van Tan Street, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Banh canh, or “big noodles,” are your new favorite twist on udon. The noodles are coupled with a succulent broth which comes in a variation of flavors ranging from crab (banh canh cua) to snake head (banh canh ca loc.) The thick, chewy pasta is offset by the light, but incredibly flavorful soup-like broth it’s served in. BANH CANH CUA is celebrated for their crab banh canh so you know this is where you must go to try it. So, go!
QUAN NEM: 30 Ba Thanh Quan 6, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Vietnamese spring rolls—we tried to move away from the norm, but there is such an assortment of spring rolls offered throughout Vietnam, we had to include the item on this list! Spring rolls are simple rolls consisting of a rice paper wrapping and fresh veggie, meat and/or seafood filling. The best part about them is that they’re light, so you can eat a bunch without feeling sluggish! At QUAN NEM in Ho Chi Minh, there are only a few items on their menu (3, to be exact) which is a good thing—it shows us confidence in their cuisine. Order the Nem Cau (crab spring roll) and you’ll remember the taste long after your flight back home.
NHA HANG NGON: 160 Pasteur, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
And of course, we have to include a dessert for you to try! Vietnamese che is a sweet, soup like dessert usually served over ice. Che refers to anything resembling a traditional Vietnamese sweet beverage, dessert soup or pudding, but it’s best to go with the soup version. It is usually full of fruit, and is further layered with bean jelly, coconut milk and ice. After a day of traveling or on an especially scorching day, head to NHA HANG NGON for a refreshing end to your adventure.
Enjoy your Vietnam Eats, Globetrotters!
– Durga Ghosh