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Ho Chi Min City (Saigon): Vietnamese Food Series

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Ho Chi Min City (Saigon):  Vietnamese Food Series Ho Chi Min City (Saigon):  Vietnamese Food Series

Ho Chi Min City (Saigon): Vietnamese Food Series





I expected Saigon to be a small city, dusty and provincial, the impression I got from watching ?the Amazing Race?.  However, when I arrived, it was totally not what I expected.  The city was big and drenched in bright lights. Decorative lights were put on city streets for the Chinese New Year, but left for other holidays, if not for the rest of the year per our guide.  We arrived late in the evening, so for dinner I settled for a Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) that was delivered to our hotel. That simple Vietnamese sandwich tasted so good, different from the Vietnamese sandwiches I had in California that it made me say, "I'm in Vietnam, indeed!"

The exit from the very narrow tunnelThe following morning, I joined the half-day tour of Cu Chi Tunnel, a war memorial park.  It was about forty-five minutes drive from the city of Saigon. After watching the documentary about the 120 kilometers of a complex network of tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war, I sort of envisioned Cu Chi to be a not-so-pleasant place to visit. However, the War Memorial Park was a well-organized tourist attraction, complete with cottages used for informational talk before the actual tour. A park official showed us the different types of booby traps and demonstrated their mechanism. The gun fires from the firing range seemed to provide the sound effect to the display  of weaponry (M16 rifle, AK-47 and M60). I thought we would be crawling a long tunnel so I came prepared with mosquito repellant and bottled water, but we were just shown the hidden entrances to the tunnels used by the Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots, communications and supply routes, food and weapon storage, and living quarters. Tourists were given the option to experience crawling a very small portion of the very narrow tunnel.  The graphic display of how a soldier could be trapped in the tunnel with no escape and stare at a weapon being pointed at him/her, made me emotional.  It was not my kind of tourist attraction at all.   
I was hoping to return to the city before noon, so I could find and have lunch at the ?Lunch Lady? place featured on Anthony Bourdin No Reservation.  But on our way back to the city, we stopped by the rubber tree plantation.  But by the time we arrived, my stomach started to growl.  I was so hungry that I did not have the time to go looking for the 'Lunch Lady'.  I settled for a pho at Pho 24 closest to my hotel.  Pho 24 looked relatively modern.  There was a choice of ?Australian beef?, chicken, pork and vegetarian.  I ordered the beef pho.  My pho came in a medium-size bowl with a clear, flavorful broth and slices of beef and very fresh basil, mint, spring onions and lime on the side.  It really tasted good and better than the many pho's I have had particularly from the Silicon Valley area of California.
After lunch, I joined a walking tour.  It was a goo...
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Source of news: Green Caviar Travel Blog
Source of publication: 13-03-2017 16:06
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