VIETNAMESE CUISINE and RESTAURANTS

by - 5:18 AM

While writing this blog and taking a glance at all the photos I have taken of these various Vietnamese cuisine, I become so hungry and restless, that I don't know where this blog entry shall start.  Nevertheless, it's time to finish this post.

A day before I went to Ho Chi Minh City, a friend of mine told me not to miss the spring rolls.  Then, I answered in a normal manner, "Yes, I won't."  To my mind, spring rolls, wherever made are all the same...no such distinction.  But mind you, this is not all about spring rolls, as it is just one of the many dishes Vietnam has to offer.  I had no expectations for the food in the city, as I had the impression that I will be bearing with the vegetables and other unknown fruits and leaves on this trip.  To my surprise, the said notion all changed...   

Local food is one of the must-trys in every travel...you get to learn the locals' way of living and their culture in general.  Having said that, here are my top favorite restaurants and bars in Ho Chi Minh City:


BOULEVARD RESTAURANT AND WINE

As part of our tour package, we had our first lunch in the city here at this restaurant.  We did not try the wines, but the interiors and the guests makes you feel you're in Europe.  The set menu served to us was all worth it.








I am never a lover of vegetables and anything that goats chew and take for a meal.  But the way this restaurant served it, I could say nothing is really permanent...everything changes.  Take a look at these photos and I would bet you'll get hungry in awhile...

lotus root salad with chicken

steamed clam with cream and milk sauce

everybody's favorite- fried shrimps and pork spring rolls

sauteed morning glory with garlic

sweet and sour clam soup

stewed fish in pot

sauteed yellow noodles- for spicy food lovers


interiors of the restaurant


ALLEZ BOO BAR

This bamboo-made structure is the favorite hangout place and rendezvous for backpackers as it is near the backpackers street and it's location is strategically located near the parks and other tourist destinations.  It is located in District 1 and this is my second time to visit the said establishment.  As compared in the year 2009, there are significant improvements, from its food presentation to the restaurant's layout.  At night, a loud music can be heard from this restaurant, which makes it one of the liveliest in the First District of Ho Chi Minh. 



February 2011- with my future business partners


with my childhood friends/travel buddies last March 2009
at night

the world famous Allez Boo burgers
Allez Boo Bar is known for burgers and a place for drinking spree at night.  Though, we were not able to experience night life at Allez Boo, the super big burger for a lunch treat would suffice for a great experience.  As to how it tasted years ago, definitely no substantial change...still the same great burger that may even be equivalent to a full day meal due to its extra large serving.  The burger costs around 100,000 Vietnamese dong or an estimated 250 pesos.












 DISTRICT 1 BARS - PHAM NGU LAU

 For those interested on how to spend the nightlife at Ho Chi Minh City, this district specifically on a street named Pham Ngu Lau near De Tham is the answer.  It offers a variety of bars, restaurants and pubs that will suit the varied set of preference of the tourists and the locals.  Loud music, varied tourists of various nationalities all mingle and make friends with one another in this street.  Restaurant food servings range from italian, japanese, spanish, chinese and even its local cuisine.  

Tagged as the backpackers street, as there are various budget hotels in this street, it is no surprise that at night everyone seems to be wide awake and wandering for whatever activity they want to indulge into. 

On our first night here in the city, while so tired and exhausted for the days' activity, we had our dinner at one of the italian restaurants in the said street and tried their local beers as well, both the red and green Saigon Beer, which tasted like Pale Pilsen in the Philippines.  Now I wonder which one is the original beer. 

As for the food, all I can say is, it's bearable and not that remarkable.  It is something that will just feed your appetite, what is important while in this district is the feeling that you are in abroad as you get to see and meet various nationalities.  It is the company and the ambiance that matters here and not the food itself. 

In the year 2009, I was able to try the Vietnamese chicken noodles on one of the restaurants near the Orient Hotel, which unfortunately I could not remember the name.  And it tastes good.


PALACE HOTEL RESTAURANT

Since staying in Vietnam is living like a millionaire, we had our chance of fine dining in Ho Chi Minh City.  On our second night stay in the city, we had our dinner at the Palace Hotel Restaurant as it is the nearest restaurant from where we came from, which offers free internet access.  The hotel is located at 56-66 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, Ho Chi Minh City and is a walking distance from the Boulevard Restaurant.  We had the whole day walking on the streets and wandering at almost all the museums in the city and so, we deserve to treat ourselves for this.  Like any other restaurant we visited, default order is the spring rolls.  And this time, I ordered my favorite Vietnamese chicken noodles as well.  Since servers are used to serving foreign customers, it is easier to converse with them in the English language and place our demands in a way that they can understand fully.  Names of the foods in the menu are so weird yet they are just simple brand names and  common food at that.  Lavie for instance is their mineral water.  Thus, it is important to ask from their friendly servers before placing an order.  As to the prices, definitely reasonable and cost of fine dining is like having a lunch in one of the fastfoods in the Philippines. 


spring rolls again...



Vietnamese chicken noodles
CAFE ROSY

For free internet access and comfortable lunch after hours of walking in the city to locate the various museums, our feet brought us to this restaurant named Cafe Rosy.  This is near the National Library and is a walking distance to the Ben Than Market and the various hotels, making this restaurant in the center of the busiest part of Ho Chi Minh City.  This restaurant plays Vietnamese songs as part of its ambiance and there is a stage where customers are free to perform.  I assume that they have good performers due to the number of customers that they have. 

The food can easily be forgotten but the comfort of staying there and the ambiance is something to remember.  Moreso, the stay in the said restaurant becomes memorable when you have been walking for distances for a number of hours under the scorching heat of the sun and you need an airconditioned and a truly relaxing place to stay.  One thing I've observed, it is only the manager who knows how to speak English, so in his absence, always hold the menu and point to the server whatever it is that you wanted to place for an order.

The featured restaurants are just a few of the many restaurants in the city.  I will definitely make a review and update my list once I get back to Ho Chi Minh City in the very near future. 

By the way, Highlands Coffee is everywhere in the city.  So be careful when a meeting or rendezvous is set in the said place as you have to be specific on the street where it is located.

Highlands coffee across the Ben Than Market


Highlands coffee across the Allez Boo Bar

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