After a few days in Saigon I’ve already eaten Vietnam’s big three: pho (soup noodle), goi cuon (rice paper rolls) and banh mi (baguette sandwich).
My first pho – from a place down the street from my hostel – was actually pretty average. The broth was bland and it only had a few slices of chewy beef. It took a bit of internet research to find a place that served a really tasty bowl.
And I haven’t really enjoyed any goi cuon. I’ve had it from a couple of places and both times the rice paper has been dry and, well, papery. Will have to keep trying on that one.
All the banh mi has been delicious though.
In any case, they’re the three dishes you have to try in Vietnam. No visit would be complete without them. They’re like visiting the Opera House in Sydney, the pyramids in Cairo or a ping pong show in Bangkok.
But like those other “must dos”, every tourist has had them before. They’re not unique nor necessarily really memorable experiences. You know generally what they’re going to be like and what to expect. You’ve just got to tick them off and get them out of the way.
Like most worthwhile travel experiences – the ones you’ll tell your friends about when you get home – finding some memorable food is going to take a little more effort or a little luck.
You can’t necessarily read about these things in a guide book. You have to discover them for yourself. It can take a little more time. A little experimentation even.
A tipoff from a local or fellow traveller could help me find some or I might have to just keep eating at random food stalls.