There are so many variations to the Pho noodle soup in Vietnam, and yet, one of the best one I've ate was in Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Grab a plastic chair, chopsticks and don't forget the lime. It's a great combination.
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Ben Thanh Market
When I was visiting Ho Chi Minh for only two days, one of the places I kept coming back was Ben Thanh Market.
So much food to choose from, so many people. The nonchalant of pulling a plastic chair, sitting around a random table in the middle of the market and sharing the table with strangers.
Wandering around the main indoor market, we passed a dozen vendors selling these intriguing colorful candies. After an hour we were unable to resist temptation any longer, so we selected 2 of nearly everything. Some were delicious and some were strange, but every bite was an experience.
Note: In my opinion the pink, green and white ones were quite good while the yellow ones in the corner of the photo were disgusting ...
When they first mentioned it - corn milk - I knew I had to try it. Our food tour guides were surprised at how excited we were around this foreign drink. Corn milk drink (sữa ngô/ sữa bắp) in Vietnam is exactly what the name says – fresh corn flavored milk. It tastes mildly sweet and silky with a soft aroma and taste of corn. Pour it over ice on a hot night and enjoy. Delicious!
You can find it in various restaurants and markets. It should be kept cold as it is dairy after all.
Vietnam is filled with delicious treats from spring rolls to jackfruit to my beloved pho bo soup. The country is also home to the bánh mì, a tasty sandwich showcasing both Vietnam's French influenced past and local flavors at the same time. An airy, crispy, single serving baguette is stuffed with a variety of fillings more often than not including grilled meat, pâté, fresh cucumber, cilantro, pickled veggies, mayo, chili and sometimes cheese.
Bánh mì are ubiquitous in Vietnam and especially in Ho Chi Minh City. Finding a bánh mì stand is not a difficult task. However, finding an outstanding one is.
While strolling through HCMC's Ben Thanh Market, my friends and I noticed multiple old locals munching on what looked to be the same awesome version. After a few miscommunications and a little misunderstanding, we were guided to a lady outside the market on the street, with nothing but a simple cart and serving nothing but bánh mì.
The woman who made the sandwiches spoke no English, and we no Vietnamese, but it didn't matter, she knew what we had come for. Within seconds was whipping us up a bánh mì with the meat, pâté, and everything in between. The sandwich was sweet, salty, sour and spicy, all flavors in balance and absolutely devine. Having devoured ours in a mere minute, we quickly returned for seconds, the lady giving us nothing but a knowing look before heading to work on bánh mì number two. My only regret: not getting bánh mì number three.