So there it was… Time to pig out in style.
When I heard about this little Saturday outing, as a total street food fan, I just could not resist and tagged along.
I briefly knew what to expect, and had an idea of what I would discover/rediscover, and from what I was going to get into, skipping lunch was a must!
A friend of mine just started a food Tour around Saigon, and I got to be a part of the very frist outing! A big convoy of motorbikes driven by the staff, all dressed in yellow, with the clients at the back snaked it’s way to the meeting point: « best Banh Mi place » in Saigon, 26 Le Thi Rieng.
Driving around in Saigon is a touristic tour on it’s own I have to say… So even before you’ve tasted anything, you get an immediate feel of the city just by sitting on a bike!
I don’t know about « the best » as I’m not too familiar with what makes a great Banh Mi according to Vietnamese… But as I had reached early, I did get to witness the massive flow of clients… This place was famous alright!! It’s the first time I see people coming to pick up 5 of those gigantic sandwiches… They are definitely worth the try, addiction might be right at the corner of your taste buds!
After eating off the street this massive half piece of wonderland for the taste buds, it was time to go for some more serious business, and sit down for some beef hot.
You access the place driving through some narrow alleys, and get to think you’re James Bond at times, with bikes popping out of no wear and having to maneuver the two wheel as if you were being chased constantly! But surprisingly, you always reach alive.
Let the tiger flow!!
I guess anyone who’s been in Vietnam for at least 2 weeks has already had hot-pot, with whatever local delicatessen.
Some even serve them with home made rice noodles, fresh and just out of the semi manual machine… It wasn’t the case this time, as we had some of the more « instant noodle » type stuff.
The hot-pot’s broth was really tasty, and I’m a real fan of those big dishes put in the middle of the table for everyone to share, especially during a food tour where you don’t know anyone.
After all this meet, we took off to have some desert, and it was definitely a first for me! I’d always thought Vietnamese weren’t that much into sweet things, and this place definitely proved me wrong. I really don’t have a sweet tooth, yet I really wanted a taste of everything in order to see what are Vietnamese sweet craves about…
And it was quite a discovery! The textures, ingredients are so far away from my European standards… And you can hardly make out what you’re actually eating.
A variety of coconut based flans, some sweet red been sort of smoothie, banana mixed with condensed milk and other odd ingredients… It was definitely worth trying out!
Yet, I didn’t get my sweetness quick back on track, and as much as I fancied the new tastes, I won’t wake up at night dreaming about it… And I’ll go on with the salty dishes.
It was time to take off again, and head to the night market in District 4. The traffic starts to get more fluid, it’s not rush hour anymore, and you get used to the horning and the lack of discipline of the streets… Saigon is sinking into you.
I really enjoyed this as we stopped at a fruit stall and picked out all the fruits you don’t find in Europe, and I just fell in love with some of them… It was a very smart stop, and helped us digest what we had already eaten, in order to make space for the final stop… The all you can eat and drink BBQ place: Vĩnh Khánh Street, Quận 4)
Now… It’s no myth; you gotta save best for last. And I was really looking forward to this stop!!
I absolutely LOVE this type of restaurants.
A huge table was waiting for us, with cases of Saigon beers, ready to be served.
It’s the same concept as the hot-pot, expect it’s better in my opinion.
Each group of four has a bbq grill. And the plate ballet starts… As if it was going to go on like this for ever!
Marinated beef, brochettes, pork, squid (oh squid… I could write a love song on the squid around here…), frog legs, morning glory (one of my favorite discovery, especially as they stir fry it with a lot of garlic…), you can be sure you won’t go home hungry!!
Being French, it was quite funny to taste frog legs for the first time in Vietnam, and I have to say that it tastes divine!
After far to many beers and happily full of all this delicious food, it was time to part…
I hadn’t eaten so much in a long time, but I have to say that I’ve enjoyed every bite.
If you’re traveling to Saigon and want an overview of what the streets have to offer, it’s definitely a must do! You get to meet locals, expats, other tourists, with a great fusion of different nationalities, and have a great overview of what Saigon has to feed you… Be sure to starve yourself a bit before hand, you’ll enjoy the ride even more!
For booking, it’s over here: