Vietnam Part 2: The Food

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Yes, this might be the important of my posts on my trip to Vietnam. This is all about the food I experienced there. I always loved Vietnamese food that I ate in the States. However, I quickly found out that the food that I liked to eat from Saigon Grill and other Pho places were different from the actual food in Vietnam. I’m assuming that they change the food a bit to fit our western palates a bit.

There were certain dishes I was expecting and I didn’t find them to be quite the same in Vietnam. Our first night, we asked the hotel front desk for a recommendation for a good dinner place. They pointed us to a street and said this was where the locals eat. So our first night there, we had our map in our hand and attempted to navigate through the confusing and busy streets in the old quarter. We luckily managed to weave our way through endless scooters and dark streets to find the street. We didn’t realize that it wasn’t really a restaurant inside, but there were multiple food stalls outside on the sidewalk with small stools and tables (very close to the street) that we would sit on.

We randomly chose one of the places, and sat down. They asked us what we wanted  and pointed to the menu, which listed 4 items which we couldn’t read. Then we said we wanted the chicken dish. They asked if we wanted rice or noodles. We said noodles and hoped for the best. After a few minutes, we were given two large bowls of pho with chicken. It was delicious. There was a clear and refreshing broth filled with thicker flat white noodles and pieces of chicken breast. It didn’t taste like any of the pho I had back at home and it only cost about 2 US dollars.

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The next day, we participated in a cooking class. Again, we weren’t really sure what to expect. It cost $30 per person and it would be in a restaurant near us. My friend Laura and I got picked up and taken to the restaurante, blue butterfly. We arrived and our instructor greeted us. We were the only 2 in the class! He had a lot of the ingredients set up already like the meet and some vegetables. However, he took us on a walk to the market to buy the rest of the ingredients. The market place in itself was an adventure. We saw all sorts of things, which I’m assuming were meant to be eaten, like turtles, eels, squid, frogs and even some kittens. I’m hoping the kittens were for pets?

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After our walk to the market place, we picked up noodles, sliced green papayas and a few other vegetables. We started cooking. We made spring rolls, green papaya salad and lemon grass chicken with chillis. It was fun being able to participate in cooking some authentic Vietnamese food. Our chef created some fun designs with the fruits and veggies to decorate our plates as well. We followed a recipe for 5 servings and in the end it was only my friend and I that ate the food. We ended up having way too much food! Hopefully, I’ll be able to cook up some of these dishes on my own now.

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4 thoughts on “Vietnam Part 2: The Food

  1. elsie says:

    I had to laugh when you said the food didn’t taste like the food from home. How true! I had some fabulous food on each of the excursions I had in Vietnam, but I had no idea what I was eating. most of the time. A cooking class would be fun. Now I’m hungry for those spring rolls.

  2. Tara Smith says:

    What a wonderful exclusion…and the photographs were a lovely accompaniment. I love the artistic presentations, too…those tomato swans look too good to eat!

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