Hubby and I have always liked Vietnamese food, ranked as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. Our favorite pho place in Manila: Pho Hoa (we're neighbors with the Shangrila Mall branch).
After trying authentic Vietnamese meals during our Ho Chi Minh City holiday, we loved the cuisine even more! Everything we had -- from side street stalls to restaurants -- were really good. And very affordable, perfect for budget travelers like us. Our Manila pho experience was raised to the next level in HCMC, sarap x 10!
Now to the main course of this entry...
We ate in one of the side street stalls, just like the locals. Yan ang eksena sa Vietnam, nasa kalsada kumakain. Karinderia, is that you?
Our first Vietname meal: Pho with beef meatballs. Pho: a noodle soup with a rich, clear broth made from a long boiling of meat and spices. Typically served in bowls with spring onion, slices of semi-cooked beef and broth. Vegetables and herbs are also added. (Wikipedia)
2 bowls of pho + 2 Coke cans + 2 glasses of sugarcane juice
VND 120,000 (around Php250)
I was intimidated by all the zeroes at first. "What?! One hundred twenty THOUSAND?!" But I got the hang of it after this first meal, hehe.
We loved the Banh Mi. That's the Vietnamese baguette with pate, Vietnamese mayo, cold cuts, jalapeno, pickled carrot and cucumber slices. It's among the more visible street food -- almost every street corner has a Banh Mi stall. This one was only VND14,000 (less than Php30).
Pho for breakfast at our budget hotel. They serve buffet-style breakfast (American, Chinese and Vietnamese), hindi lang naman ito.
If Manila has Jollibee, Vietnam has Pho24.
The Chicken Pho was so good. Far more flavorful than the bowls in Manila.
Fresh lemon juice. Perfect for the heat.
Claypot Meal: Shrimp Rice. Very good.
Hubby doesn't like seafood much (ako ang into seafood) pero dito natuwa siya.
Fried Spring Rolls. So fresh!
Our version of a Happy Meal!
We saw a lot of Pho24 branches around HCMC. We tried the one in Vincom Center, near the Opera House.
Vietnam has a rich coffee history. Coffee production is among the country's major source of income. It's a haven for coffee-lovers as local cafes are found everywhere, as in everywhere. Not Starbucks ha, local cafes. But since Hubby and I are not coffee drinkers (we love tea!), we tried an ice cream shop that serves coffee -- para hindi hardcore kape.
My iced cocoa. Ang tapang! Hubby had to finish it for me.
Hubby's iced coffee. We tried the local coffee. Hubby liked it.
They're into people watching. Nakaharap talaga ang cafe tables sa kalye. Very relaxed ang pace and vibe ng buhay dito (Must be the French influence? They know how to enjoy the art of doing nothing. Love it.)
I needed ice cream. It was too hot! (And hindi ko kinaya ang bitterness nung cocoa drink.) So we shared an order of banana split.
Bach Dang Ice Cream branches are found everywhere.
Nam Son is among the local favorites daw. Mukhang totoo because the place was packed. Go here for your steak fix.
Their hot sauce was really hot. Just as we like it.
We had Beef with Rice, VND 55,000 (around Php113). It was so good. The beef was so tender. Ang sarap ng timpla. Even the rice was perfect, parang butter rice.
I had Pepsi and Fresh Lemon Juice.
Uhaw much? Ang init kasi!
Hubby in the background, hehe. He doesn't like having his picture taken so hanggang ganito na lang.
Nam Son is located at 188 Nam Ky Nghia, HCMC.
Another popular HCMC place according to the blogsphere: Au Parc, a French restaurant.
Address: 23 Han Thuyen, near the Notre Dame Cathedral & the Reunification Palace
Date shot: Us, waiting for our table.
Au Parc's very charming interiors!
My French Tips (DIY) at a French resto. (Blogged about this on My Little Black Book of Style.)
Fruit shake. It was a fusion of aloe vera, mango and lime. Loved it!
My bolognese was good.
VND 115,000 (around Php235)
Hubby's garlic and herb cheese sandwich was even better than my pasta.
VND 85,000. (around Php174)
The Chocolate Nemesis was OK.
VND 65,000. (around Php133)
Our bill was almost half a million...dong! Lol.
We really went for the popular (and down-to-earth) food joints. So we also tried Pho 2000.
Its signage says "Pho for the President" because Bill Clinton ate here when he visited Vietnam.
We lowered our expectations because the locals say the place is overrated. Sikat lang dahil kumain si Bill Clinton dito. So we were pleasantly surprised when our orders -- seafood pho, porkchop rice and fresh coconut juice -- tasted really good. Yey!
Bloggers were raving about Pho Hoa Pasteur so we tried it too.
Walang pinalampas? Haha!
Generous servings of chili and lemon. Andyan lang, hindi na kailangan hingin.
We both had the Pho Gan (beef tendon). And it was pho perfection in terms of serving size, freshness of ingredients, burst of flavors, tenderness ng beef, sarap ng sabaw. A must-try.
Guess what we saw going to Pho Hoa Pasteur along Pasteur Road? Jollibee! Sa Singapore walang Jollibee. Buti pa sa Vietnam meron.
Another cafe we tried: Cafe La Mode. Pang budget traveler talaga.
Syempre may Eiffel Tower sa logo since Ho Chi Minh City was once a French colony.
I tried their coconut ice cream. Hubby had a scoop of chocolate. OK naman. Homey.
We enjoyed watching the street scene below, from our cozy cafe corner.
According to the Lonely Planet travel quiz, I'm a Global Gastronome type of traveler (aka Matakaw). So imagine how *happy* I am to have enjoyed another foreign country's good food while traveling on a budget!
Glory to God.