When: November 21, 2010
On our first day at Ho Chi Minh City, we agreed to book a guided city tour for only USD 13/pax. We were picked up by a mini-coaster bus at 8:30 a.m. at the hotel and the tour was indeed a sensory overload that is Ho Chi Minh City. The entire tour was very entertaining mainly because of the funny accent of our tour guide named Po. The tour includes a "limited lunch", which was aptly described as rice with pork and steamed vegetables, at Kim Cafe. The said cafe is very popular with backpackers in District 1 as it served low-priced yet authentic Vietnamese dishes and also offers package tours all around Vietnam and Cambodia.
We still felt full from our hotel's breakfast buffet so we decided to skip the limited lunch and have a light lunch instead. What's a light lunch? For us, it means Saigon bia (beer), gỏi cuốn (summer rolls) and bánh xèo (sizzling cake or popularly known as Vietnamese pancake).
Ma & Pa
Saigon bia and softdrinks
Since it was sweltering hot outside, I ordered Fanta orange. I suddenly remember my freshman year at St. Mary's School in CDO where I had my daily Fanta fix, only because it's the most popular softdrink then. Gone are those days.
Gỏi cuốn with lotsa lotsa peanut sauce!
I noticed that in Vietnamese restos in Manila, they usually give small amounts of peanut sauce for summer rolls.
Cholimex hot sauce
Our tour guide suggested that gỏi cuốn is best enjoyed with peanut sauce and hot sauce. I totally agree!
Saigon beer and summer rolls = perfect duo!
Bánh xèo (Vietnamese pancakes) with nuoc cham (Vietnamese fish sauce thinned with water and lemon)
I felt so healthy while eating this. I've been looking for some authentic bánh xèo in the metro for weeks now.
Ready for our next stop
Lunch at Kim Cafe was indeed a wonderful starter for our search for authentic Vietnamese fare. Good thing it's included in the package tour. Steaming bowls of phở were constantly delivered to the tables straight from the kitchen. The place has the same ambiance with our local carenderia here in the Philippines, but the tourists clearly enjoyed the affordability and authenticity of this food joint.
268 Dê Tham Street
Ho Chi Minh City