Before I went to Vietnam a lot of people told me that I wouldnt want to see so much as a grain of rice for months afterwards. For those not so keen on rice this definitely wasnt the case. Theres plenty to eat that is not rice, as long as you are keen on noodles!
coffee was fabulous and addictive in its freshness.
The minute we hit the hotel the first stop was Pho 2000 a speciality pho shop that was seriously and very rightly proud of serving Pho to Bill Clinton on his visit to Ho Chi Minh city. Even veggie daughter Chelsea had some pho at the time, although after a few weeks in Vietnam Im pretty sure that there was no such thing as a vegetarian pho and that all pho is made with a good stock using plenty of bones!
One of the places I was most excited to visit in Saigon was Com Nieu Sai Gon which came heavily recommended by Anthony Bourdain on his show . This place was the first and only place that I tasted Ban Xeo, which had been much recommended before going to Vietnam. When the plate arrived I didnt have a notion that what you are meant to do is wrap the pancake stuffed with bean sprouts, bits of pork, shrimp in the many different leaves to the right before dipping in fish sauce. What cant be seen in the picture is the very fat rat that crawled out from behind our table after our first few bites. I didnt get to finish the Ban Xeo but wasnt crazily keen on trying them again after seeing the rat.
fruit and veg grow on either side of the road for 200 odd kilometres every day.
The picture on the left is of the food that was brought to our table at a truck stop miles away from anywhere. The bits that I remember from this were chicken cooked in a clay pot with lemongrass and chili, morning glory, an omelet, a veg soup with beetroot and some fried pork - all amazing.
This trip was where we also had one of our more interesting restaurant visits with our guides. We had absolutely no idea what we were going to as we walked down an alleyway between houses to a building that looked like it had been built in someones garden. The only thing we knew is that chances were we wouldnt be getting a menu.
Little bowls were brought out with fish sauce, birds eye chillies and satay sauce for dipping.
As I quickly learned to say "Ngon lam" (pronounced mon lamb) - that was delicious.
The best however was yet to come. I was fairly squeamish about this so Im going to put these photos behind that little "read more" link down there. Whether or not you read on, dont forget to enter the competition to win some Vietnamese coffee!
Heres my guide Anh delighted to model the eating of some duck foetus for me!