Monday, 1 November 2010

Street Food in South Vietnam

I'm in Southern Vietnam and I've been eating like a king from the street food stalls for days. This is a nation of foodies. You can't turn a street corner without bumping into a fruit-shake stall, noodle soup shop on wheels, or someone frying or boiling their lunch on a stove on the roadside.

Our first dinner was a classic Pho Gà (chicken noodle soup) which we ate in the main square of the Mekong riverside town Chau Doc. The soup came with chicken, rice noodles, dried onion and chopped spring onions and a side plate of fresh bean sprouts, herbs, chilli and lime.

Cost = 1 pound

The next night we had a theatrical meal at an outdoor street food restaurant in fellow Mekong Delta town Can Tho. We ordered beef in soybean sauce and prawns in chilli. These came raw and we cooked them ourselves on a barbeque at our table. Each order came with a free portion of okra in chilli.

Cost = 2.50 pounds a head

For dessert we hung out at the nearby fruit shake stall. I had a mixed shake of coconut and mango. This was blended with ice and milk and delivered in a tasty milkshake form.

Cost = 50 pence

Night three we arrived in Ho Chi Min city (Saigon). I've been told there are seven million people here and six million mopeds. Needless to say crossing the road is an art that I am yet to acquire.

We managed to navigate on foot to one of Saigon's main markets – Ben Thanh Market – and ate at the outside restaurant – Hai Lua. This was a serious operation with lots of uniformed staff buzzing around and cooking meat and fish on large charcoal barbeques.

We dined on grilled red snapper, pork spring rolls, beef with chilli and onion, morning glory with garlic, and rice. To drink I had a fresh coconut. The food was fresh, flavoursome and sublime.

Cost = 15 pounds total for three people.

I'm going to get very large if I stay in this county too much longer......

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