After our fairly eye-opening day, we headed to a local restaurant that does pho from north Vietnam. If you’ve ever had pho, you’ll know that it is predominantly beef based. The soup is made out of soaking bones for a long period of time to create the flavor. North Vietnam takes a slightly different spin on their pho, they use chicken instead. So the flavor isn’t as heavy, it’s a little on the lighter side. The noodles are a little thicker in width than you see in America but it’s still a very thin noodle overall. It was just as flavorful as regular pho but it didn’t feel as heavy and I didn’t go into my usual food coma afterwards.
From there, we continued our food adventure. I think the theme of this trip was eat until you couldn’t move…
We took a cab over to GA 3A which is an alleyway in Ho Chi Minh. I highly recommend you stop by if you have the time. This alleyway is adorable and full of character. There’s walls of graffiti that change every so often and you’ll find local teenagers doing photo shoots in front of the artwork. There are adorable shops and cafes lining the street including my personal favorite, Pacey Cupcake Shop.
We took a walk through the alley, checking out the artwork and then spent an hour or so drinking local teas in Pacey. They have a delicious sweet tea that was a combination of green tea and hibiscus tea. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what was in it because my friend ordered it for me in Vietnamese and he hadn’t made any bad decisions on food. The tea wasn’t too sweet and I feel like it was a green tea base with a hint of hibiscus and some sort of flavored syrup. Either way, it was delicious.
After hanging out there, we made our way to dinner. My friend was all about ensuring we experienced as many rooftop restaurants as we could. We went to a tiny little place with a great rooftop but the view was surrounded by more buildings so it wasn’t a spectacular view but that wasn’t what mattered. It was the food. The food was amazing. We, once again, allowed our friend to order and the way that this place does food would be a bunch of small plates – almost tapas style. Each dish came out with some sort of seafood on it. We had things ranging from calamari to blood clams to balot. I couldn’t bring myself to eat the blood clams because they can be really difficult on one’s stomach if you’re not used to it and I wasn’t ready to take the risk. And balot… not my thing. As a vegetarian for 10 years, balot was way too out of my comfort zone.
After dinner, we headed out to a local bar where the music was loud and the long island ice teas were served giant beverage dispensers brought to each table. We hung out there for a bit and people watched and then made our way home around midnight in the pouring rain.
Overall, Ho Chi Minh is one of those places I cannot wait to visit again. It is a beautiful city and full of so much history. There are hidden treasures everywhere and the food. Oh the food…
The next day, we began our journey to Thailand.