A Travellerspoint blog

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Our new favorite dish: pho xao!

sunny 85 °F

We stayed with Jerry, in his apartment on the outside edge of District 1 (the center of town). We had a hell of a time renting bikes in Ho Chi Minh and quickly learned that a 10min taxi can turn 35min with traffic :) His balcony had a lovey view and I’m sure the neighbors enjoyed us screaming ‘good morning Vietnam’ at the city every morning.

Jerry took us to the best place for Pho, and introduced us to our new favorite Vietnamese food: Pho Xao (fried pho noodles). Unfortunately Pho Xao differs greatly from restaurant to restaurant, so you must go to 25 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai for the best Pho Xao in Vietnam.

Seeing as Vietnam is infamous for coffee, we were eager to try some good coffee. We went to Jerry’s contact at the local market to buy beans and through her broken English it turns out (we think) that she has family in the Bay Area. We bought two different varieties of beans, some condensed milk, and attempted to reconstruct the market coffees at the apartment. We decided that although the famous Weasel Coffee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak) was good, it wasn’t that much different to for out such a heavy price tag, and we most likely had the chemically simulated version, rather than the beans eaten by the civets. For those who can’t be bothered to read about Weasel coffee, the image below summarizes it pretty well.

The small world, and even smaller Asia travel circuit, amazed us once again when we bumped into the Canadians we met in Siem Reap (and ran into in the Phnom Penh market) while aboard a bus to the Chu Chi Tunnels. We spent a day touring around the Chu Tunnels and the War Remnants Museum, where we once again came face to face with the devastation of life and natural habitat that Vietnam endured during the US bombings. Life size pictures of birth defects that are still occurring today due to the chemicals (such as Agent Orange) used to destroy the jungle, are humbling, to say the least.

The tunnels are fascinating, and definitely test your ability to deal with confined spaces. We went into both an actual tunnel used by the Vietcong and another one that spanned for 100 meters, with exits at every 20 meters. Although the diameter had been increase to accommodate fat foreigners, you could still feel the thin air and lack of oxygen.

Wondering around the streets in Ho Chi Minh (after you have mastered the art of crossing the street, see previous post) is actually quite pleasant and fun! There are numerous parks, a beautiful post office, and a Grand Palace to roam around. We randomly found the hotel on an alley that Kevin and his family had stayed in 6 years ago! Ho Chi Minh statues and pictures are everywhere around the city, here you see him with Kevin at the Palace and Robin at the post office:

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 05:58 Archived in Vietnam

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