Ho Chi Minh City- part 1

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Ho Chi Minh City, also formerly known as Saigon will take you the moment you step off the plane, the intense humidity engulfs you with a big warm hug. Welcome to Saigon baby!

HCMC lady rice

Walking through the streets you can feel the city’s pace and rhythm. The mopeds beeping, the vendors singing  and the heat fervently beating down on your face. Everything in Saigon is intense.

HCMC traffic night- lady riceNight traffic HCMC- lady rice

This city is not for the faint hearted. The first survival skill you need to learn is how to cross the roads. The green pedestrian man won’t help you, the Vietnamese don’t like to follow rules and take every opportunity they can. When crossing the road walk slowly and don’t stop, keep eye contact with oncoming traffic. The traffic will move around you.

My journey begins here in this city that doesn’t sleep, this is my sixth journey home to Vietnam and I know that it will change a part of me as it always does. For my husband, Mr LR it will be a first visit and also the first time he will meet my relatives.

My Saigon food adventure starts with Neville’s recommendation. Neville runs The Original Taste of Hoi An Tour, a great experience for anyone heading to Hoi An.  You can find more about the tour here.

Our first restaurant experience was at Cuc Gach Quan, a restaurant situated in an old French mansion, beautifully designed combining the old with the new. Cool and interesting artwork adorn the walls.

Cuc Gach Quan art

Watch out for the fish pond in the middle of the restaurant and the very steep stairs that take you to the upstairs level.

The restaurant uses organic and local ingredients, ask the water to recommend you dish of the day. We tried the prawns cooked in coconut juice which was a delight. Our favourite dish of the night was the fresh house made tofu with lemon grass and chilli, it was sublime. We also had crunchy lotus and prawn salad for entree which was perfectly seasoned.

Fresh tofu and lemon grassPrawns in braised in coconut- lady ricePrawn and lotus salad- lady rice

 Cuc Gach Quan, 10 Dang Tat, Tân Định, Quận 1  Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


The second restaurant we visited was Moonsoon.

Monsoon inside- lady riceMonsoon entrance- lady rice

A beautifully designed restaurant with eclectic furniture ranging from a four poster wooden day-bed to European chairs. The menu offered dishes from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Mymanmar and Thailand. Which allowed my tastebuds to cross borders easily and happily. The herb salad with peanuts and sesame in a light dressing from Mymanmar was a highlight. The shredded catfish deep fried was a bit oily but still an interesting take on a traditional dish.

herb salad- lady riceshredded cat fish

Moonsoon- 1 Cao Ba Nha, Nguyễn Cư Trinh  Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


Cho Ben Thanh- night market

As the day stall holders close, the night restaurants open up. There is only one stand with delicious bbq smokes pulling the customers in. Here is street food at its best, crowded small tables serving the masses. Be prepared to queue and be patient, trust me it is worth the wait. A dish I would highly recommend is the bbq red snapper. It was the best fish I had in Vietnam. Even my dad who is keen fisherman and a picky fish eater  was swooning. We sat there trying to work out what was in the paste the fish was marinated in. We tried to ask the manager to divulge his secret but he just smiled and walked off. Oh well… we will just have to come back again!

Smokey bbq fish- lady ricesea shells- lady rice

huge bbq prawns- lady riceseafood buffet- lady rice

Chợ Bến Thành

Lê Lợi, Bến Thành  Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Happy Eating!

Lady Rice



Lady Rice

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wild and organic Vietnamese cooking View all posts by Lady Rice →
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7 Responses to Ho Chi Minh City- part 1

  1. CaAtherine says:

    Ann, what an awesome post. My mouth is watering… I cannot wait to read more…x

  2. Linh says:

    The prawns look delicious …. Looks like Vietnam is next on the list :)

  3. sarah says:

    Makes me hungry!
    Can’t wait to hear more

  4. Vietnam food is delicious

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