Eating Local means lots of Street Food

Eating Local means lots of Street Food

Whenever I travel I seek out “authentic experiences,” trying to eat where the locals do and enjoy experiences unique to where I am visiting. In Ho Chi Minh City the locals eat on the street, so thinkCHUA and I followed suit.

The first hurdle of eating on the street is ordering.  Determining whom you should order from is the first issue.  At each street stall we have stopped at we have had trouble figuring out who owns the stall and therefore who we should ask about food and then drinks, because typically they are separate, I assume just to confuse people even more.

The second hurdle is trying to explain to a non-English speaker what you want to eat and how you would like it prepared, which is difficult to do in mime.  Sometimes a passerby sees your failure to communicate and they translate for you.  Often this isn’t much of a hurdle at all because once you sit down you will be served something to eat, it may not be what you want, but it’s usually pretty tasty.

The third hurdle of street food eating is squatting on the miniature stools provided next to the miniature tables. Not only are we bigger than the typical Vietnamese diner, but these tables and chairs are comically small and appear to made for dolls. Luckily for both of us, all that yoga paid off.

thinkCHUA squatting with his noodles

Once you have gotten over these issues the rewards of street food abound.  First is the pure economics of ordering from street vendors, it is dirt cheap.  The price for an entree ranges from about 40 cents to $1.25.  All the street food we have had has been delicious, flavorful and really fast.  Noodles are the typical fare, but rice and Banh Mi are also abundant.

A delicious fried noodle dish for only 75 cents.

Banh Mi sandwich for only 40 cents

One of my favorites, noodle soup with an egg for only $1

One of the other advantages of street food is the opportunity to try new things, since you are never sure exactly what you are going to get.  Slowly you learn what you like and what to avoid.  You also learn how to prepare your dish the way you want using their large garnish plate and the many sauces available on the table.  I would go into detail about what is included to garnish your noodles, but most of it I am unsure what it is.

An example of the many condiments and garnish you will find at a typical street stall.

However you travel, it is always best to take note where the locals gather if you want to taste the local flavor.

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Comments

» dad :
Jan 3, 2011

never cease to be amazed how different our worlds are at the moment….just finished watching iron chef and stated to mom/terry that i enjoy watching the prep stuff, but would probably not enjoy their delicacies….of course your mom, who i blame/credit on your ability to eat any thing (remember the squid tentacles at7 in japan) would be sitting along side you on the little chairs while i try my bites from a far……nick had way good fun in chicago as he was right in the mosh pit for the black keys concert……finding fun and happiness in life is one’s goal me thinks and you both appear to be on that path…..funny, that makes me happy as well…..donna, nye in the sauna will never be forgotten….love you…..dad

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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