Monday, August 27, 2007

Hungry in Vietnam - Street Cart Banh Mi

jeni in saigon
After our memorable train ride from Sapa to Hanoi, my brother and I quickly flagged down a taxi and made our way to the airport for our morning flight to Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City. It's a new playground in Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon. Unlike Hanoi's Old Quarters and quaint streets, the city of Saigon hustles and bustles to a completely different beat.

At first glance, Saigon, a 300-year-old metropolis, is the kind of place you just want to stop in and immediately leave. It's not the kind of city where you're like, "Hey, I'm on vacation, let's relax in Saigon." Because there is no relaxing in Saigon. It's a high energy city and everyone's ready to make their next dong.

But if you actually stop and take a deeper look into Saigon, you'll notice so much more to the hustle and bustle. You'll find some tender loving care from street food vendors, a very humbling history behind the hundreds of cyclo drivers, and food that can sooth any soul.

Saigon
Like my previous Hanoi and Sapa posts, I'll be breaking my Saigon summaries into shorter posts. One to give you a breather from reading, and two, because I'm lazy. Enjoy!

Saigon Flavor
When Jeremy and I got dropped off on Pham Ngu Lao road, the infamous backpacker haven in Saigon, both of us were starving. Luckily, Pham Ngu Lao has tons of street vendors competing for our fresh dong. The last time I came to Vietnam, I couldn't stop raving about the fresh banh mi's. And Jeremy was eager to try an authentic banh mi from the motherland.

banh mi cart

banh mi dac biet

jer's banh mi

banh mi
We fell in love with this banh mi cart nearby our hostel. Don't be fooled by the size of these banh mi's. Yes they are smaller than banh mi's in the states, but these small babies were only 5000 dong (~30 cents) and were packed with hearty flavor. Everything was completely fresh even with the meats being left out. Don't be scared...you won't get sick!

Jeremy ended up running downstairs every morning to grab several banh mi's for breakfast. I will definitely be missing my daily banh mi deliveries.

*I don't really speak Vietnamese, so whenever I don't know what to order, I just say dac biet (special). Wherever you are, you can never go wrong by saying, "Gimme the special."

Banh Mi Cart
corner of De Tham and Bui Vien
Pham Ngu Lao District 1, Saigon

Hungry in Vietnam
(previous entries)
Abandoned Building Pho
Pho Bo Dac Biet
Hanoi Street Market on Pho Gia Ngu
The Road to Sapa
Sapa Market
Sapa Eats
Goodbye Sapa

11 comments:

la dra said...

seriously. now I've got to get a banh mi too! we'll be near westminster this weekend. maybe we should go for it...

Daily Gluttony said...

omg, 30 cents for bahn mi??? even all my fave mom & pop bahn mi joints here in the states have raised their bahn mi prices to at least 2 bucks. i think i need to go to vietnam. =)

Pirikara said...

Ohh Bahn mi...I always crave those... I wish I had a guy in my apartment making them all day~

I wish I had long summer breaks to travel...iine~~

KirkK said...

Wow only 30 cents....I'd gain some major weight pretty quickly!

Chubbypanda said...

Those look so freaking good. Why is street hawker food always better than restaurant food? I need to discover their secrets.

Eddie Lin said...

F*#k me! Bahn mi for only 30 cent? ? ? The eat is on in Saigon! Let's all move there!! I can say "dac biet" all day long! I'm a little dac biet myself.

henrychan said...

no matter how they do it here...it doesn't get better than a $.30 street bahn mi! so jealous...

what did they put in the dac biet?

Jeni said...

La Dra...how was your weekend? Sorry we missed the bbq. Did you get your banh mi?

DG...seriously! I remember banh mi's being $1 back in college. Now they're up to $3. Damn! You'd totally love Vietnam..the food is so stinkin cheap!

pirikara...the school year is insanely tiring, but vacation is so worth it. I'm pretty sure I won't be changing professions. I love my summer breaks.

Kirkk...I'm pretty sure you can handle 10 at a time. They're soo delicious and fresh!

chubbypanda...they were good.

Eddie...you'd have a field day in Vietnam. Gosh, you would love the markets there...tons of fresh anything! Miss you guys! When are you guys moving?

Henrychan...their dac biet is just like ours...pate, mayo, roasted pork, head cheese, cha lua (Vietnamese bologna), pickled carrots & daikons, and a splash of Maggi sauce. Sooo stinkin good!

nhbilly said...

Dac Biet all the way.....awesome.

Anonymous said...

Dac Biet is all good but you forgot to say "Them tit" and where's your sugarcane drink (.10cent) :)

Anonymous said...

"Them tit" (more tit?) might get people confused. "Them thit" (more meat) is a better idea. ;^)

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