After much travel around Vietnam in the past two months, I’ve spent the last week enjoying the last of our trip soaking up exploring the very city that we have been living in – Ho Chi Minh City. It is hard to conceptualise Saigon (HCM) as a whole, but every district comes with its own quirks, special places, and completely different experiences. The best places are those that are the hardest to find/holes in the wall. What fascinates me the most about this massive city are the slices of different cultural areas that you can experience in one place. Tucked away in District 1 is Little Tokyo, where the small alleys are decorated with an abundance of lanterns, and both sides of the alley are lined with an abundance of options for Japanese Food, with the waitresses addressing you in Japanese when you walk into any restaurant. If you travel further out to District 2 across the bridge, it is a hub for ex-pats – a more developed side of Ho Chi Minh.
Back in New Zealand, my friends know me to be very indecisive. The independence on this trip & the need to become very self-reliant has led to exponential growth in becoming more decisive. However, one area I can confidently say does not apply – is deciding what food to get here. Vietnamese food has so much variety, colour, character and simply – truly so delicious. The odd bouts of food poisoning say otherwise. But I can wholeheartedly say that they were worth it.
Coming from a Chinese background, I am used to eating all kinds of delicacies at home. However, one thing I had not tried was Balut (fertilised duck egg). I decided that it was time to get the full Vietnam experience and give it a go. “Do not look at it; just eat it,” said the local. The fertilised duck egg was sauteed in delicious oyster sauce with morning glory, and it was amazing. The texture when it came to the chick’s head was crunchy, but there were no major textural issues that put me off. The egg was cooked deliciously, and the flavours overpowered any idea of the concept of eating a fertilised egg. Definitely glad I tried it 😀
I am not looking forward to not being able to walk down the street any time I want to cure all serious cravings for Vietnamese food when I get back to New Zealand. I guess when the cravings do come, it just calls for another trip to Vietnam, hehe.