Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Q3: Saigon Food Heaven

Our first days in Saigon we stayed in Quadrant 3 and in our humble opinion, where the best food the city has to offer can be found and there's a lot to choose from. We started by dining on soups and rice cakes. Below is a list of our favorites.
Banh Uot (rice noodles folded with minced pork and mushrooms) served with fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, spearmint, spade herb and dandelion - seriously the herbs in Vietnam are the best - fresh, aromatic, earthy and delicious!) pork patties and beans sprouts.Hu Tieu: Pork based soup with rice noodles, slices of marinated stewed and ground pork. Topped with scallions, lettuce and fried shallots. The combination of the sweet pork broth, marinated pork slices, spicey scallions and pungent fried shallots is a dynamite combo!Banh Canh Cua: Crab based rice noodle soup. A spicey, thick and flavorful crab based broth with threads of crab meat and round thick rice noodles. Topped with the ever-present fresh herbs and plenty of famous Vietnamese black pepper. Easily one of our favorite soups to date!Mi Hoanh Thanh: Wonton Noodle Soup. Ground pork steamed wontons with wheat noodles in a sweet oniony soup served with sweet bbq pork and served with onions and chopped fresh herbs.Bun Bo Hue: One of our top soups at home, this bowl was fantastic. Spicey beef soup with lemongrass, chili sauteed onions, thick round rice noodles and of course scallions and fresh Vietnamese herbs. Served on the side was shredded banana flower, lettuce, more fresh herbs, beansprouts and another one of our favorite combos, chilis and lime.
There is also great beverages in Saigon. Vietnamese fresh fruit shakes (Sinh To), fresh pressed tropical juices and fresh pressed sugarcane water! That's just what we had for breakfast and lunch, then there were the wonderful home cooked dinners we had with Anne's family.
Saigon is also known for its alleyways or hiems. Life in the alleyways is unlike anything we've seen with everything crammed into the tiny hallway-like alleys that have residential homes, small businesses, food stalls and even large neighborhood food markets. The first picture is the entrance to Anne's Great-Aunt's house.Since land and property in Saigon is very expensive homes and buildings are built tall and skinny so the alleyways are maze-like walkways that curve and you never know what is just around the corner, it's crazy fun!Saigon is slowly becoming more "westernized" with grocery stores, shopping malls and corporate looking coffee shops and restaurants, but older areas like Q3 are still typical Saigon with open markets tucked into small alleys selling everything the neighborhood needs. This one in Anne's Great-Aunt's neighborhood was especially fascinating because it was tucked deep in a tiny little alleyway.Quadrant 3 in Saigon, a true taste of the city.

1 comment:

DeeCoe said...

Okay, so you won't believe the timing on the soup posting. Brett has been on a Pho? kick lately, and he made a delicious version tonight. I swear, it looks exactly like the ones you posted pics of. Last week he made it too, and we're getting addicted to trying different versions! I can't wait to show him pics of these and of your posting. Delicious! All we want to eat are different varieties of soups lately....it definitely gives a natural food high when slurping up these soups! Thanks for sharing your delicious adventures! I want some of that fresh juice! It solidifies my decision to go buy a juicer...I have been wanting one like crazy!