This is the second time we visit Ho Chi Minh City and we have a mission to accomplish – to sample yummy seafood in Ho Chi Minh City. As we more or less know the “protocol” – where to stay, what to eat, where to visit, after touching down at the airport, we hired a taxi that cost USD8 to bring us to our hotel – An An 1 Hotel. We stayed in this hotel last year and were generally happy with the room – clean and spacious, so we decided to return to the same hotel. The hotel rate stays firm at USD40 per night despite we tried very hard to hassle for some discounts as a returned customer.
Settling down quickly, we couldn’t wait to taste some of the authentic Vietnamese food at a restaurant runs by Bi-Saigon Hotel. It is located in a small lane next to An An 1 Hotel. Our order was pretty much predictable – Saigon Green, our staple drink and Vietnamese fresh spring rolls. This time, we tried something new – Mango Salad. The salad was spicy and the mango was more sour than sweet – overall it’s quite refreshing. As the highlight for the night is Ben Thanh night market seafood dinner, we decided to move on to Ben Thanh Market to further satisfying our cravings.
Ben Thanh Market Seafood Dinner
We headed straight to Ben Thanh night market Seafood stall without browsing through stalls that sell ‘genuine’ imitation goods like LV bags, Chanel wallets and North Face haversacks. There are quite few seafood stalls at Ben Thanh night market and we are spoilt with choices. Finally we decided to try out this seafood stall named Chi Lan that sells all kinds of seafood – clams, tiger prawns, squids and seasonal fish. As our cholesterol levels are at ‘full’ optimal (our health screening reports said so), we agreed not to eat too much seafood. A fried river fish, some steamed clams (aka ‘la-la’) and a plate of stir-fried morning glory were all that we ordered to salivate our appetite. The seafood overall is okay but the price is ‘touristic’ – a medium sized fried fish costs VND 120,000 (USD6) is considered expensive for locals.
Ho Chi Minh Roadside Seafood Adventure
The next day, we got a little bit more adventurous that we wanted to experience how the locals have meals at the roadside. We discovered a ‘zi-char’ stall that specialised in clams & crabs and it has a good mixture of local & tourists patronising its stall. The stall only operates in the night and it is located further down from the famous Go 2 bar in Ho Chi Minh City.
The place was quite crowed but we managed to get two seats with a low table, placed just next to the road. We started our seafood sample tasting again, ordering few different types of clams and flower crab spencers. Putting our stomach to a further test, we also bought a packet of steamed peanuts and black sesame rice crackers from the walking peddlers at VND10,000 each. This meal was much fulfilling as the food was tastier and cheaper.
As our adventure was quite successful that we didn’t suffer from any stomach ache the next day, we decided to continue our search for yummy seafood in Mui Ne – a beach resort in Vietnam, which is famous for huge BBQ tiger prawns.