The one thing I was very excited about in Vietnam was the food. I love Vietnamese pho and fresh spring rolls, and I warned Mom that I could very possibly want to eat those every day.
I thought it would be the easiest thing to eat since I know Vietnamese food relatively well. Except that this was both our virgin trip to Vietnam and we didn’t know till we arrived that not every Vietnamese spoke fluent English. All my Vietnamese friends do, so I had assumed that everyone in Vietnam would too!
I wish I had know this earlier and learnt some Vietnamese words before we came. Because it was NOT easy to communicate with the Vietnamese. Especially when it came to food. I had to gesture alot. Point alot. And wave my hands alot.
We ate beef pho every day. But I could never pronounce Pho Bo in the right way. The waiters grinned every time I ordered.
Asking for extra soup or condiments was relatively easy. I would point at a particular item and go More! More! They get it in one way or other in the end, but not without me feeling silly first in the restaurant. In one restaurant, the waitress didn’t even know the word More! *faints* Asking to change the rice bee hoon noodles to pho noodles in a dish was impossible.
The pho always came with beef fillet, beef flank, beef meatballs or oxtail. We liked beef flank and meatballs. So I remembered their names pho bo chin and pho bo vien (pronounced as “veen”). Quite easy.. bo chin (no chin) and bo vein (no veins).
Mom and I were pigs. We slurped up every drop of soup every time. And then asked for more soup. They hate us.
We ate lots of these fresh spring rolls too. They are my favourite and I make them alot – see Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls recipe here.
To my disappointment, I discovered that these rolls tasted better outside Vietnam than inside Vietnam. Duh. They were rock hard when they were served. And it was like that in 4 different occasions in different restaurants. Try explaining to the waiters that the rolls were too hard. In one restaurant, we tried explaining and they brought us chilli sauce, thinking that we wanted to dip the rolls in sauce. Duh. We finally gave up on this dish and stuck to deep fried spring rolls instead.
The one thing I absolutely adored everywhere was Vietnamese coffee. It was ridiculously rich and fragrant. I loved having mine drip into some condensed milk. I’m a snob. It looked like it tasted better that way.
Thick drip coffee poured over ice. Yummmmm..
There were lots of street vendors selling food in the city. I ended up eating street food because I couldn’t take their pictures without feeling like I should buy something. This wasn’t South Africa. Asians don’t enjoy having their pictures taken by strangers like that.
I tried some of those
home street-made waffles and they were delicious! Although I did spot her drop one on the floor and did the 5 seconds rule on it. =p
We had a fabulous time eating in Vietnam. Unfortunately, Mom is now battling a massive bout of food poisoning. She practically hogged the toilet onboard on our way home. =(
More on Ho Chi Minh city later..