We are taking a short break in our guest post series (aren’t you impressed by them so far!?), to give you an update from our travels in Vietnam. Our computer is overloaded with travel & food photos, so instead of writing a full story about what we have experienced here, we thought we’d show you.
The main reason why we chose Vietnam was because of its food. Fresh spring rolls has always been one of our favorite foods. As it turns out it is also a favorite for Elsa. Whenever she gets hold of a spring roll she won’t let it go until it has completely disintegrated in her hands.
We posted a recipe for fresh summer rolls a year ago, and after trying it here in Vietnam we must say that our version actually comes pretty close to the original. We had never used freshly grated coconut before, it’s a great addition. And we cannot be more clear about this: don’t forget the fresh mint leaves, they give the most important flavor to the spring roll.
Random shots from food markets that we have visited.
We have tried a number of different restaurants, cafes and street food stalls in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Some of the restaurants were crowded with europeans and americans while the food stalls mainly were visited by vietnamese people. We had a great dinner at Hoa Tuc, their homemade tofu was a favorite. The cafe and lifestyle store L’usine feels very european, but we still found it pretty cool and tasty.
Two new favorite dishes are rice pancakes and vegetarian pho. Rice pancakes are served with fresh mint leaves, salad and sometimes shrimps or chicken, and dipped in sweet chili sauce. Phó is the Vietnamese rice noodle soup with lots of fresh herbs, lime, chili and big chunks of tofu and vegetables. It can be a little bit tricky finding vegetarian versions, since most of them are made on chicken or beef broth. We did however find a very tasty one at Pho 2000. And when we get home we will try this recipe.
Another version of the rice pancakes are these mini coconut rice cakes. They are made in small clay pots. You wrap them in a salad leaf together with fresh mint leaves, and dip them in peanut sauce or fish sauce. You shouldn’t miss these if you are in Vietnam!
Elsa is now used to eating lychee, dragon fruit, fresh coconut and pomelo every day. How will we ever get her to eat oranges, apples and pears when we get home?
To call the traffic in Saigon crazy would be a huge understatement. There are motorbikes everywhere. They usually don’t stop for red light and they drive in every direction possible. Even the sidewalks are occupied by parked motorbikes. Imagine that we were a little bit shaky after our first walk with the stroller. After a while we learned the unwritten rule: Don’t stop once you have started crossing. Even though it feels like they will drive straight into you, they will drive around you. As long as you don’t make any sudden moves.
After a while here we began wondering why we couldn’t find beans and peas in any recipes. That was until we started reading the dessert menus. Soy beans, red beans, black beans and even black rice are all being used in sweet desserts. We bought this dessert from a woman selling it from the back of her bicycle. It’s different variations of sweet sticky rice, with soy beans, chick peas and grated coconut. It’s very sweet and very yummy!
Apart from eating, we have spent some time on the paradise island Phu Quoc, together with David’s sister and her boyfriend. We stayed in small bungalows without hot water and with only four hours of electricity each day. It took a while getting used to the quiet life, but once you are used to it you get completely hooked. Elsa has been practicing her walking skills on the beach. She loves to be on her feet, but she probably has a couple of weeks left until she manages on her own.
We have 1 week left in Vietnam, after that we are going back to Thailand. Our plan is to rent a small house on an island, so hopefully we’ll have a kitchen again pretty soon!