So what's a more fitting for a first meal in Vietnam than a bowl of Pho? You're right, nothing! Okay, Banh Mi and the spring rolls run a close match too.
Unfortunately, Pho is traditionally rice noodles in meaty beef broth so for a vegetarian like me, the traditional pho is out of the question.
But vegetarians still can eat their share of yummy food!!
Pho Chay at Phở Chay Như, a vegetarian eatery!! Chay (zha-ee, first tone) means vegetarian in Vietnamese.
Mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, beancurd strips, lots of ingredients went into the making of the vegetable broth (but I'm sure I detected MSG too...). You're supposed to put loads of the herby veggies on the side into the soup to up the flavour. It really does! Don't ask me what herbs there was.... (you've got a rather stupid blogger here. HAHA) Well I remember mint and basil. Vietnamese love to have a slightly sweet and sour flavour in their foods. And herby flavours!
A rather yummy first experience with pho. But to be honest, I'm not toooo impressed. Well I've never been a crazy fan of noodle soups anyway. Can't judge.
Fresh Vietnamese spring rolls! I like the crunchy beancurd thing inside~ This was mediocre though. Apple dislikes vietnamese spring rolls, why???
Mock Vietnamese meat loaf. Made from soy and some herby stuff I think. Tasted very so-so actually, and similar to a few places' mock chicken in Singapore.
A few lousy shots of the place. I am utterly shocked that I didn't take a single photo of the shop front. I'm speechless...................
ANYWAY, we had our first hilarious experience of trying to communicate without a common language. The aunties manning the shop barely knew any English and there was no menu to indicate what they had. I knew they had Pho from my research and their shop name contains Pho so we could order that. But the other stuff... We pointed and mimed.. haha
I made a few failed attempts after the meal to say yummy. I was using the Vietnamese English dictionary app on my phone but I couldn't figure out which Vietnamese word in the search results was the one I was supposed to say. LOL. I couldn't have pronounced it anyway. Vietnamese is super duper hard to pronounce with the 5 tones and lots of nasal accents. We probably sounded very funny trying to say Vietnamese words throughout the trip.
The aunty was very friendly though and taught us a few words. She also cautioned me to take care of my (or rather, my friend's, whom I borrowed from) DSLR camera and smart phones. Lots of people along the trip cautioned us, I knew it wasn't that safe in Vietnam and I though I made lots of precautions. So I thought I did........ That's another story in a day's time..
To conclude our meal we headed off to find a famous Kem shop, which was coincidentally nearby. Kem is ice cream in Vietnamese!
I'm so glad I've got a rather good sense of direction and I can read maps! Yay! It's such a super useful ability for traveling. ^^
I bought sandals for the trip! It's cooling and fitting which is important for walking long distances. Oh and for braving wet/muddy/sandy areas.
For some reason, Vietnam addresses and Google maps don't match somehow. Not always, but often. This was the first experience of this weird problem. The location on the map shown when you key in the address doesn't bring you to the exact spot of the address. The GPS tracking our location showed that we were at the address already but we were not. (-_-)
We had to ask around and thankfully we found someone who spoke English and the place was well-known enough for her to point it out to us.
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT. I realised I didn't take a picture of the shop front of the dessert shop too. ㅠㅠ How can I not have.... ㅜㅜ
It's called Công Trường.
The interior~ The tiny stools and tables are really cute, but quite nightmarish for tall and big people in my opinion. I wonder why they made it this small, I should research about it.
There was no English menu again and unluckily the girl serving us was rather gloomy. But no worries I had done my research so I just pointed to the one I heard was good!
Kem Trái Dừa, fresh coconut ice cream served in a ripe baby coconut and topped with crushed peanuts, dried banana, pineapple and plum. Refreshing sorbet-like coconut ice cream was perfect with the crunchy and chewy toppings and scraping the soft and luscious coconut flesh to pair with the sundae was.... *dreamy~* Perfect coconut dessert experience! A very good treat in the heat of Saigon.
I apologise for the rather horrible photos. I was baffled with the DSLR I was using and to be honest after a month I am still rather baffled by it. LOL
It was a sweet ending to our first meal in Vietnam and we head off to our next destination, the biggest wholesale market in Saigon!
Before that, a walk to the bus stop.
Hồ Con Rùa (Turtle Lake) was just across the shop we were at. I didn't really see any turtles though. There wasn't much to see there so we just took some silly photos. We think that the architecture is rather bizzare though. I really wonder what it's used for..
It's in the middle of a roundabout. We had the first "exciting" experience of crossing roads at incredible Vietnamese roundabouts that have absolutely no traffic lights.......
Veg Eats in this post: