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Saigon recommendations


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My wife and I will be traveling to Saigon at the end of December for about 7 days. Does anyone (local or visitor alike) have any suggestions? We are not interested in recommendations for any places of Western or non-Vietnamese cuisines - we would like to focus on the local specialties as much as possible.

As some eGulleteers may know from reading my trip report of our July trip to Singapore, we enjoy eating street/shophouse food - but, we are certainly open to visiting a nice restaurant if it is worthwhile....

Thanks in advance!

Edit for trip duration

Edited by KennethT (log)
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A few 100 metres south of the War Remnants museum (very interesting BTW) there's a food hall similar to the hawker centres in Singapore. It's similar in that many different vendors share the space with communal tables for patrons.

There you can find such delights as "garlic chicken wings temperamental " and "beef communications landscape". No kidding, I have photos. Methinks they need a better translator.

Thank you for leading me to this forum via your post on Fodors.

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So I just received some (rather unsolicited) restaurant recommendations from my hotel. It started when they emailed me to see if we had any dietary restrictions or allergies they should know about since breakfast is included with the room. I just mentioned that we were interested in having non-western foods, and like to focus on local specialties. So, I get a response that she is thrilled we are interested in "trying Vietnamese food" and gave these recommendations below... anyone have any experience with them?

Cuc Gach Quan

Vietnam House

Lemongrass

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been getting very excited planning for this trip. For those following along, here's a list of books/blogs that I've been perusing:

Eating Viet Nam: dispatches from a blue plastic table, by Graham Holliday - this book is a collection of musings by a British expat as he lived in Viet Nam for several years... first half of the book is about Hanoi, the second half about Saigon. An excellent read - his descriptions of food are great, and he's got a great sense of humor as well.

Legal Nomads blog: legalnomads.com - this is a blog by Jodi Ettenberg, who has been traveling non-stop for several years, writing about food. She has spent the past few winters in Saigon and has many detailed blog posts about her favorite spots.

Eating Saigon blog: eatingsaigon.com - 2 guys who live in Saigon constantly eating and writing about street/local food!

Everything I've read so far tells me to avoid the restaurants that are listed in the guidebooks - there are so many great local options which are better tasting, often healthier, and significantly cheaper! More bang for your Dong ;)

I'll put up more info as I find it - and, of course, if anyone else has recommendations, I'm all ears! I'll probably do a write-up of our eating adventures in early January, as we get home New Year's day, and it'll take a week or two to get back on schedule, and download all the photos....

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Kenneth, I’m envying your trip. Vietnam is on my shortlist of places to visit.

 

Some additional reading that might be helpful:

 

On her blog Viet World Kitchen, Andrea Nguyen recently mentioned some restaurants and bahn mi joints that she enjoyed in Saigon, here and here.

 

Blog Stickyrice, covering the Hanoi food scene

 

Culinary tour business Hanoi Street Food Tours is interesting reading, even if you don’t want a tour.

 


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Thanks Linda... I've read through Andrea Nguyen's blog too - I just didn't put it in my list because her site is more about cooking than eating out.

 

I've also read Stickyrice, but as you say, it's about Hanoi... he did have a couple of posts on Saigon.  Unfortunately, this trip is too short, so we can't travel all over - but my wife and I were in Hanoi about 10 years ago for a few days, and really really enjoyed it.  One day we will go back and see how much has changed (I'm sure a lot!) but there are still a lot of places on our list where we haven't been yet.

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