Eating In Vietnam: Street Food
This post is long. I’m sorry. But it’s mostly pictures of really good food (even if you can’t tell from the photo–making the food look presentable isn’t the street vendor’s #1 concern)! Really really really good food. I’ve been in Vietnam for five maybe six weeks now. I’ve eaten a lot ALOT of food. My first week here I went into food flavor overload after being deprived in Cambodia (Cambodians lack seasoning in their food) and ate pretty much anything and everything Hien presented. The word ‘no’ was rare and pretty much nonexistent. Somewhere between my several meals/snack breaks/cafe sua da runs I decided if I’m going to shove it in my mouth I need to get a photo of it first. So LA of me, right? Naaaaah. My year long social media and marketing internship at the irresistible and delectable, LA Spice Cafe required me to become a pro at taking photos of anything and everything that came out of the kitchen.**but in all seriousness you should check out LA Spice. The food is so good and the owner LeAnne not only cares about what leaves the kitchen she is also involved in where the food comes from. I have days here in Nam when I wish I was still an intern so I can get free meals. Check it out — you won’t regret it!
I digress….An overview of what I’ve eaten from the street.
S T R E E T F O O D
I’ve said this before but with street food you just don’t know what you’re getting. They say one thing, you hope they aren’t lying to you, you take a bite and you’re in heaven. And your wallet is singing too. Street food is generally no more than 30,000 VND 30,000 VND is a little less than 1.50 USD. Hehehehehe it’s awesome.
I’m just extremely curious to see how my mom reacts to it……..
L u n c h w i t h L C
Lunch with LC (Language Corps) is my favorite meal for several reasons.
A) The woman can tell me more or less what I’m eating (language barriers are a real issue)
B) THE BEST LEMONGRASS TOFU OMG
C) I always get veggies
D) I like the rice
E) I like the tea ‘tra da’
F) After lunch I treat myself to Cafe Sua Da & Chuoi Chien ❤
G) I get at least a 30 minute hangout with Hien & Linh
C a u L a u
Cau Lau can only be found in the city of Hoi An. I’ve talked about this flavor bowl once before, but here’s my summary again!
It’s a bit like Pho, with less broth combined with a minty taste that came from the mint (obviously) and a sweet crunchy texture for contrast. I love love loved it.
B a n h T r a n g T r o n
This explosion of flavors is only 10,000 VND — I prefer to eat it with a smoothie from my smoothie lady for 22,000 VND. The combination is absolutely amazing. If I’m having bang trang torn + day phong // khong mum kho I needed the smoothie. It’s love ❤
Oh yea, the rice paper comes in a plastic baggie hahahaha. So cool.
C o m T a m
Com Tam is broken rice…..which is you guessed it rice but slightly smaller. It’s almost quinoa size. The woman at our hostel told Meg and I that it was special to Da Nang. She lied. Since I’ve been back to Ho Chi Minh City I see Com Tam everywhere. It was still really good. And about 15,000 VND.
B a p X a o
You can find a corn man on any street corner grilling corn from the back of his moto for 10,000 VND. I shit you not.
Why is it so special? :
A) Grilled corn is delicious
B) He adds baby shrimp to it
C) The green onion is a game changer
D) I feel like I’m in corn heaven while eating it.
How can you elevate the corn flavor? A SMOOTHIE.
Okay, whatever, everything tastes better with a smoothie.
B a n h M i
The Vietnamese golden child. Usually it is made with pork and pate and other meats I won’t go near with a ten foot pole. Lucky for me, they also make it with egg. I can promise you it’s just as special. With the proper amount of cucumber, cilantro, onions, other mysterious vegetables and a warm roll, you can’t go wrong — yes, another 10,000 VND winner.
M i Q u a n g
Mi Quant is another dish that I was told is sold only in Da Nang. I thought I saw someone eating something similar this morning in Ho Chi Minh City, but sometimes the noodles blend together. You can’t tell from the photo but the broth along with my excellent flavoring skills this noodle bowl is anything but basic
C h u o i C h i e n
This is a smashed banana dipped in a flour mixture and fried in oil. I like to tell myself that it’s coconut oil or some healthy alternative to make myself feel better but regardless I love this deliciousness. It’s crunchy and warm on the outside and sweet and soft on the inside. Obsesesd. The only thing I would change, is I would add cinnamon to the batter. Come on how good does that sound??
This treat usually comes after lunch for 5,000 VND
D o u h u a
I have resisted this snack since I was told what it was made of. It looks like vanilla pudding but it’s actually made with tofu. Can’t say I’m sold on the idea of tofu as dessert and I can’t grasp what’s inside of this bowl even though I watched the woman make it. It throws me because it’s a mix of hot liquid, clear jelly and the smooth room temperature flavor. I’m not a hater of the hot/cold mix. But I would order it again LOL. I guess I enjoy it more if it’s hot sake and a cold beer. — also 5,000 VND.
B á n h x è o
Apparently this is compared to a pancake because it is partially made of flour. Before this ‘pancake’ arrived I was thinking it would taste a bit odd without syrup. But then they brought out this huge plate of lettuce and leaves — syrup wasn’t necessary. This was going to be a classic Vietnamese meal. Soon after a plate comes out with something that looks like an omelet made out of a carton of eggs. Hm.
It was delicious. Besides the shrimp, I’m not exactly sure what was inside of it (do you ever know what’s inside of street food?), but it was good. You probably couldn’t tell, but you take a leaf or lettuce wrap it around of a piece of the banh xeo and nom nom nom. And if you like, you can order rice paper to make the wrap a little bit easier and neater. Once again, Hien proves that she is the queen of Saigon. You can find this anywhere and it is SOoOO delicious.
R a m e n & E g g
I have absolutely no idea what this is called. Actually, I’m almost positive this doesn’t have a name. Megan and I stumbled upon this lady on a Sunday at around 3pm when all of the other restaurants/street food carts were closed or not available. I’m almost positive she made soup from a pack similar to Top Ramen, fried an egg, served it to us and called it a meal. I really didn’t care. I didn’t have food in my apartment and this random ass meal was actually pretty good.
One day during lunch — Linh and Hien mentioned in passing that when we go back home we’ll probably go into culture shock at how expensive everything is. I spend .50 cents on a cup of coffee here…….how do I make the switch back to Starbucks? That’s anywhere $2-$4?? Spending that much on coffee sounds outrageous and I’ve only been in Vietnam for a few weeks. What will happen to me after being here a year+?? Who will I be!?
Probably the same person but it’s nice to believe in the notion that this experience would lead me to give up spending on Starbucks.