VIETNAM: Ho Chi Minh City & Food

IMG_0500We have been  back home in China for just over a week now (yes, that still sounds weird), so I finally  had some time to sit down figure out how I wanted to catalog our adventures in Vietnam. This will be post one of a “I don’t know how many” part series filled with pictures and descriptions as I have some time.

We arrived at our first destination, Ho Chi Minh City, later in the evening, so I am going to call it day 0. After surviving the slightly chaotic visa on arrival process1 we were rightfully in need of a cold beverage and opted to try out the rooftop bar right at our hotel so we would not get too lost in our exhausted state. We met someone from South Korea there and proceeded to have a good chat about traveling and beer.


The days activities centered on food and included a tour of the banana market, a bunch of snacks, several full size meals, and a cooking class! Needless to say we were quite full once all the festivities for the day ended. The price2 of the cooking class and food tour were well worth it as we got to try many things we likely would not have found on our own.

Started off the day with a small snack for breakfast and a quick visit to the rooftop bar by day.
Ho Chi Minh City from above.
The massively overloaded power line poles in the city…
Wearing helmets that are too small for us before taking off on our motorbike food tour.
Market view by motorbike.
Busy day at the market.
Lots of the food we tried was cooked over a small charcoal fire/cook pot like this one.
Delicious little jelly cakes made of bandan leaf among other things.
David loved everything except the really small stools. He was a bit sore after that meal. 🙂
College Food Cart
Typical “cheap college food” in HCMC being sold outside a university. Looks like nothing like our cheap college food back home…
Tao/Daoist temple we visited while letting some food digest. Shoes had to be removed before entering and men and women had to use opposite staircases.
Their symbol is the eye high up on the altar.
Learning how to make spring rolls on rice paper.
Cooking Class
Delicious Noms included: fresh spring rolls with prawns, pork, and rice noodles, green mango salad with BBQ chicken (my favorite!), and royal lotus fried rice. We have the recipes and also took home a Banh Mi Handbook for the making of delicious sandwiches in the future!

Overall it was a very eventful, albeit filling, day. We even met some new friends (English and Israeli) in our cooking class and went out for drinks after to wash everything down. Then we pretty much went into food comas for the rest of the day because we had to be up early the next morning to go explore the Cu Chi tunnels!

Footnotes for those who wanted more than just a bunch of pictures…

  1. US passport holders require a visa to enter Vietnam. The two options are get one from the embassy before you go, or go through the visa on arrival (VOA) process. Getting an invitation letter is not difficult as many tour companies online can arrange to get you one for ~$20/person within two days or so. The visa itself was $45 (for <30 days) and they preferred payment in USD.
  2. Though many place will take USD, the official currency of Vietnam is the Dong. Every note is worth some multiplier of 1,000, so David liked to joke that we were Billionaires in Vietnam. If only…

7 thoughts on “VIETNAM: Ho Chi Minh City & Food

  1. Oh the food! Those photos. I’m salivating. We are yet to find decent Asian cuisine over here (dumplings are okay), although honestly we haven’t ventured beyond our near vicinity as yet. Now I’m thinking we need to get into the city and hunt down some Vietnamese STAT! Looking forward to the rest of your Vietnam series.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your travel stories… I so enjoy them. Almost like going myself…
    Your descriptions are great…can’t wait to try your food !!


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