Posts Tagged ‘spring rolls’

Last April, I went on a multi-city Indochina trip with my good friend, Timmy. Our trip started off at Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (also known as Saigon). We got to the airport past 1am and we had to pass the time outside Tan Son Nhat Airport because for some reason, it closes down at around 3am. We dozed on and off while waiting for the 1st bus trip that would take us to the main city area. We could have easily taken a cab but we wanted to play the backpacker card and chose to commute via local transport as much as we can.

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The bus passed by before 6am and we immediately got on board. We asked the bus driver to drop us off at a station nearest to Ben Thanh Market. From there, we only had to walk a short distance to reach the market area.

In the middle of a round about in front of the market, we saw a statue of Tran Nguyen Han, apparently a famous general who served under King Le Loi in the 15th century.

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Ben Thanh Market is arguably the most famous market in Vietnam. The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and today is considered as one of the symbols of Ho Chi Minh City.

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The main gate of the market has a yellow clock tower. Inside is a tightly organized grid of aisles, arranged according to product. Most of the shops were still closed when we got there so there was not much foot traffic yet. Trust me, it gets pretty crowded when the market is in full swing. We headed to the inner section of the market, where a good number of food stalls were already open.

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An array of freshly cooked skewered meats were in display but I wanted my first meal in Vietnam to be as stereotypical as possible. I just had to have pho and spring rolls. HAD TO.

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There’s nothing like rice noodles, thin beef slices and herbs soaking in hot broth to start off  a day of adventure. The usual side of fresh bean sprouts were crispy and well… fresh haha! I did not bother with the leaves though mainly because I couldn’t identify what they were. I squeezed in a small amount of sriracha and that black sauce for additional flavor, mixed it all together and slurped away.

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These fresh spring rolls were also good mainly because of the peanut sauce. For some reason, the rolls tasted a little too ~healthy~ for me. I finished mine though because I hate to waste food but Timmy didn’t even bother with hers. I had to pry hers open, got rid of most of the leaves and smothered it with the sauce. It was much more palatable after that.

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I suggest everyone to try out the food stalls inside the Ben Thanh Market for a taste of cheap and authentic Vietnamese food.

 

 

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Mr. Choi Kitchen is one of my favorite lunch out/ dinner spots when I was still working with Globe Telecom. One of their branches is located in Robinson’s Forum, a short walking distance from both my previous office and condo. Due to its accessibility, it is my default go-to restaurant every time I have them Chinese munchies. Below are all the food we ordered when I last ate there with three other friends.

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Spinach Seafood Soup (Php90) | For starters, we had their spinach soup. Perfectly warm and light, best way to start out our meal. It had bits of shrimp, fish and tofu so it’s very tasty as well.

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Beef Brisket and Wanton Noodle Soup (Php195) | Because I wanted more soup (I always want more soup!), I requested that we get an order of noodle soup. I liked the beef because it was tender and had the perfect amount of fat that I like (which is not too much). The wanton was OK as well but the noodles tasted a bit plastic-y for me. It was fine anyway because I was just after the soup originally.

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Baked Roast Duck in White Sauce with Rice (Php250) | I always opt for Chao Fan when I dine here but my companions already ordered before I got there so I had to settle with their choice. It turned out very delicious! It had a generous amount of the roast duck and white sauce. I especially loved the burnt parts of the sauce because it added a smoky taste to the rice. This is actually good as a dish in itself because as I said, the amount of roast duck in it is very generous.

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Crispy Fried Chicken (Php290) | Half of a whole chicken crispy fried to perfection with crackers – another regular in any Chinese meal. I always eat it with a dipping sauce of calamansi juice, chili garlic paste and soy sauce. Yum!

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Beef with Broccoli (Php290) | Another regular is the beef with broccoli. The slices of beef were again perfectly tender. I just wish there’s much more broccoli thrown in there.

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Mr. Choi Dimsum Combination (Php305) |  It is blasphemous to dine in a Chinese restaurant and not order any type of dimsum. We take it up a notch higher by ordering a platter of varied dimsums to satisfy the equally varied cravings. I always zoom in first on the hakaw (shrimp dumpling) and go to the nori wrapped siu mai next. The rest are good as well, but these two are on the top of my list.

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