Recent eats in Vietnam (including my food tour with Jodi)

So … my last post was neither very cheerful nor very pictureful. I promise to change that, but the reason I wrote the post, was also to let you know that: Hey, that’s how I feel sometimes.

I don’t find travelling to be easy, that’s not why I’m doing this. I would love to be more carefree, embrace change and just go with the flow – and that’s why I’m doing this. My theory is that if I get myself into shit 100 times, the 100th time will be much less scary than the first time.

As I also mentioned last time, I recently met a Swedish couple, and it’s very interesting to see the differences in our way of travelling.

They never book ahead. Just the thought of arriving in a new city without a pre-booked hotel gives me the creeps.

They use the internet maybe once every 3rd day. I like to know where I am on google maps at all times, and I use my 3G sim-card a lot.

They gladly give out their passport to the hotel, because they feel it is more safe than having it with them. Mine is kept, along with my other valuables, in a belt bag which I have with me at all times.

God I sound so uptight when I’m writing this – and I am, I will gladly admit to that.

But you know what, I am also brave as fuck. Because if you are not afraid, then you are not brave. That is the important difference between being fearless and being brave. I am afraid several times a day, but I keep on going. I challenge myself again and again, in the hope that I will one day be able to go with the flow, and trust that everything is gonna be all-right.

And for that I applaud myself (yes I do! despite being Danish and all)

Anyway this was not at all what this post was supposed to be about. I promised you food and pictures, so food and pictures you shall get. Chronologically backwards these are some of the more interesting meals I have had the past week or so:

My Saigon Food Walk

This food tour was one of the things I had most been looking forward to when coming to Vietnam. Canadian born Jodi Ettenberg is a former lawyer who quit her job to go on a 1 year round-the-world-trip. That was 6 years ago, and she hasn’t stopped travelling. She runs the food/travel blog LegalNomades which I would highly recommend you check out – she is a truly inspiring lady.

Lucky for me she is situated at Saigon at the moment where she hosts food tours for her readers. We ended up being just a small group of four – me, her and her American friend Mike along with his Vietnamese girlfriend Anh.

We started out with Banh da xuc hen. A dish from Hue in central Vietnam. The dish consisted of baby clams stir-fried with onions, lemongrass, chilli, ginger and white pepper, with rau ram (Vietnamese coriander) – and it was delish! (though rather spicy)

Next up was Mi quang – turmeric noodles from central Vietnam’s Quang Nam province. It was served with the same rice”bread” as above, which was broken onto little pieces and added to the soup along with the usual abundance of fresh herbs.

Everyone who knows me, know that I am a sucker for icecream .. and yoghurt. So the next little “cleanser” was probably my favourite part of the tour. Yaourt – frozen yoghurt from Dalat, eaten in the park, with aerobic-dancing ladies in the background. Perfection.

(I tried finding it up here in Da Lat, where I am now, but nobody understands me, when I say I want the frozen one…)

The next dish was Goi du du bo – Unripened papaya salad with beef jerky, rice cracker and peanuts with rau ram. I don’t have a picture of this as we literally sat on the side walk in a dark park and ate it. Even though the whole scene screamed food poisoning (at one point a rat came running at us full speed) it was surprisingly delicious.

The last dish was a dessert called Che chuoi – lady finger banana and yam in coconut milk with tapioca balls. It was good, but I must admit that I am not quite used to the whole concept of Vietnamese desserts yet. They are so … different.

The most important part though was the company and you couldn’t have asked for a better crowd. The whole thing felt more like an evening out with friends than an organized food tour, which I loved.

From left to right: Anh, Mike, Me and Jodi in the middle.
From left to right: Anh, Mike, Me and Jodi in the middle.

Jonas’ Last Supper

Jonas’ last night was also celebrated with a nice, yet not-so-Vietnamese meal. It was at the rooftop restaurant 27 Grill on the 27th floor of Saigon AB tower. The food was great and the view even more so.

The next day while waiting one the taxi we went to Sozo – a nice little coffee place in the backpacker area, that happens to make a killer passion fruit cheesecake and some mouthwatering Oreo truffles. But it gets better:

Sozo is a café established for the purpose of helping disadvantaged Vietnamese break the cycle of debt, find employment and start a new life. Through your patronage you help the marginalized support themselves, as all profits are used for training, education and facilitation of more jobs for willing workers. (link)

So … you are basically helping people by eating delicious desserts. I’ll be back.

Other eats

In Can Tho we had Nem Nuong (grilled barbecue pork, noodles, pineapple, green banana and herbs in rice paper), which was freakishly delicious.

On our Saigon sightseeing we had our most beautiful meal at “Vegetarian … hum” right next to the War remnants museum.

And in case you were wondering what my worst food experience has been so far, here is a little slide show to give you an idea:

It’s called “pearl milk”, and I’m never going near it again.


That’s all for now, tomorrow I’m going abseiling down a waterfall … so much for being brave.

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