This is Part 3 of a 3-part post about my Ho Chi Minh City experience with Urban Adventures.
Have I mentioned how much I enjoy culinary tours? Okay, I don’t need to be on a tour to enjoy food and beverages but, during my April trip to Vietnam, I joined Urban Adventures on a Saigon food tour at night to taste Vietnamese street food. This was a good tour to sample all sorts of flavors but nothing too exotic. I was expecting to be offered a duck fetus fresh out of the egg, but alas, that didn’t happen.
I filled my belly with so much food on this tour lost track of what was specifically eaten. My lame excuse is I was supposed to be on vacation with no intentions of blogging about the trip. What I can share is how delicious everything was and what a wonderful guide I had. Honestly, during this trip I didn’t venture out to eat everyday and relied on the grocery store and think the only restaurant I dined at outside of the tours was the Hard Rock Cafe. And, I’m thankful this was a walking tour so I could burn off some of what I consumed because I was full about a third way into the food tour.
Saigon Food Tour
Some of the yummy highlights during this Saigon food tour were broken rice and pork (broken rice was popular with poor people because the whole rice grain had a higher value than broken rice; today it’s popular with everyone); an amazing stir fry with fried rice cakes which reminded me of little bites of French toast; dumplings; spring roll; mango salad with shrimp; durian with sugar and rice (it wasn’t so bad); a sugar cane drink with kumquats; and a bánh mì sandwich which is one of the French influences. It’s a French baguette with pork, pate, fermented vegetable and other vegetables. It’s purely delicious. We sat in the short plastic chairs and ate off small plastic tables, something you’d think were reserved for children.
Ooh, La La. Delish Vietnamese Coffee
Another French influence is Vietnamese coffee which is a sweetened condensed milk and coffee served over ice. The Urban Adventures guide took me and the other tour participant (there were only two of us on the tour) to the Mockingbird Café, a funky, hipster café with a laid-back New York chic vibe in an office building that now houses creative types and cafes. A couple of college students opened the café and it’s been a success. It has a fantastic view of the city and Bitexco Financial Tower which stands at 861 ft tall and is currently Ho Chi Minh’s tallest building and the third largest in Vietnam.
The evening ended with a cold Saigon beer in an outdoor eatery that had headless frogs roasting on the grill. We sat at a table with a couple who just came in from Israel that day.
Saigon Street Food Tour with Urban Adventures
As I mentioned in previous posts, I booked this tour through AAA and later booked the Pho Breakfast Trail with Saigon Street Eats. Based on personal opinion, the Saigon Street Eats tour was better because of the immersion experience, BUT, I enjoyed the Urban Adventures Saigon food tour because it gave me a different flavor of Ho Chi Minh City. My big mistake was booking two food tours for the same day!
When you travel to Vietnam, book your Urban Adventures day trips through their website www.urbanadventures.com.
- Be sure to tip your tour guides and drivers!
- At the end of each tour, I was given a card valid for 10 percent off a future Urban Adventures tour. Since I pre-booked and pre-paid for my tours, I couldn’t use them. April is the off-season and I probably didn’t need to pre-book tours prior to arriving but I felt more comfortable doing so.
- Being a solo, female traveler, guides on all three tours seemed to be looking out for me.
Are you a foodie like me? Then you may enjoy one of these culinary adventures with Intrepid Travel.
View additional images from my trip on my Flickr stream.
Travel guides I used during the trip:
- Vietnam: 100 Unusual Travel Tips and a Guide to Living and Working There
- Lonely Planet Vietnam (Travel Guide)
- Survival Vietnamese: How to Communicate without Fuss or Fear – Instantly! (Vietnamese Phrasebook) (Survival Series)
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to support my traveling habit but opinions are my own.