Episode 3: Ho Chi Minh, art and food

After stuffing our faces we wandered around Ho Chi Minh and ended up at a place called Heritage Cafe. Which, from my understanding is the hipster cafe of District 1 in Ho Chi Minh.   When we showed up to the front of the cafe there were a group of guys standing outside rebuilding an old arcade game.  I’m not sure exactly what was happening but it looked quite intriguing.  The inside of this cafe is small but it is adorable.  There’s about 2 tables, one couch and an upstairs that may have been employees only.  The interior is adorable with its signs, posters and stack of suitcases. Plus, there are three dogs (two English bulldogs and one Frenchie) who roam free and don’t care about the people around them.  When we showed up, it was excessively hot so the puppies just couldn’t deal with it.

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My friends had actually gone here the day before for their coffee and they raved about it so much that I knew I had to have it.  Have you ever had Vietnamese coffee?  The typical coffee is super strong and the way that it is roasted just adds so much flavor.  Typically, water filters through the grounds straight into the cup that has condensed milk sitting at the bottom and when the filtering has finished you mix it.  It is delicious to say the least.  Well, Heritage Cafe actually does something that involves coconut milk and condensed milk with their Vietnamese coffee and it is mouthwatering.  I may be drooling as I relive this experience.

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My friend also had a concoction that involved whipped egg whites, coconut milk, condensed milk and coffee.  I’m not sure how it was made because everything was in Vietnamese but he ate it like a dessert and less like a beverage. It was probably one of the stranger beverages I’ve had but it was so good.

After coffee, we made our way to the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.  It’s a beautiful yellow house full of artwork a few stories tall.  Having visited here right when we landed in Ho Chi Minh was awesome because there are windows all around the house that give you different perspectives on this highly populated city.

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You can get very lost in the house, I highly recommend it. Note: I think that the cost to get in was 10,000 VND which equates to about $0.50 USD.

After getting our fill of artwork and statues we started wandering the city.  We decided to go check out the rest of District 1 and to stop by Notre Dame Basilica and the Ho Chi Minh post office. It’s always so fascinating being in a city that was under the control of other country for a portion of time.  You can definitely see the French influence on the architecture and it’s such an interesting contrast with the rest of the city and the infrastructure you see.

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Outside of the Basilica was a group of ladies making rice paper.  It was almost like a rice paper sandwich type of item. I’m not quite sure what to equate it to.  It’s a round sheet of rice paper that has been dried and then they put vegetables, meat and hot sauce on it then fry it, fold it and hand it to you in a piece of newspaper.

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I want to say that this was another $0.50 USD purchase and it was amazing.  I could live off of this dish if they had it in Seattle.  I highly recommend trying this street food if you’re ever in Ho Chi Minh.

This constant flow of food was pretty indicative of this entire trip because everything was did was focused around food that we found.

After eating, we tried to get into the church but they were having mass so we couldn’t go in.  Instead we went across the street and checked out the Ho Chi Minh post office.  This place is darling to say the least.  It is a bright yellow building with gift shops and locally made items that you can purchase as souvenirs plus you can buy post cards there and mail them while you’re there.  There are locally made post cards and magnets that send the money back to organizations helping people who have been affected by some sort of illness including those who are victims of Agent Orange. I recommend checking out this post office, even if you decide not to buy anything.  It’s beautiful and actually (as strange as it sounds) reminds me of a bank from Mary Poppins with the various teller windows and phone booths.  It has a very old charm to it that’s worth just sitting in and taking in.

This was the end of our day activities.  After this began the night fun.

 

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