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Saigon by Vespa

My last night in Ho Chi Minh City I did the Saigon After Dark tour with Vietnam Vespa Adventures. What a blast!

It lasts 4-5 hours and you get zipped all over town on the back of a vintage Vespa, stopping for local food and drinks along the way.

I felt quite safe in the capable hands of my driver!

 

 

 

One stop was for seafood – super fresh and still alive, including all the shellfish.

My all time favorite will be this preparation of mussels. Steamed, with scallion and peanut sprinkled on top, fresh herbs of course. Just drizzle the fish sauce on top, put a mint leaf on top and eat it like an oyster. Out of this world!! The Vietnamese mint is not like the mint leaf we are used to in the US. It’s softer, like small basil. But distinctively mint. It is featured in a lot of dishes here.

 

After some salted crab legs, we dug into clams with lemongrass and ginger. To eats them like the locals do, you use the shell like a spoon, take a few sips of the delicious broth and eat the clam. If I could eat absolutely everything with ginger and lemongrass from now on, life would be complete.

 

Next up were some very popular frog legs. Bullfrog that is! Remember in the Hanoi market I mentioned seeing them? It was just an eye opener- a big wet bucket of giant bullfrogs.

Well, never say never! They fry ‘em up like buffalo wings. I have to say, they were pretty tasty. I ate three.

I also loved out stop for more spring rolls and banh xeo, a rice/egg yolk crepe concoction with shrimp, sprouts, etc. Again, common to Vietnam, a plate of fresh greens for wrapping up what you’re eating. You tear off a piece of banh xeo, wrap it in the lettuce and dip it in some sauce.

 

We also had some do-it-yourself rolls at the table. They bring out a hot charcoal bucket and some marinated beef. Cook it up yourself like at Korean BBQ….

Layer a piece of rice paper, lettuce or mustard greens, carrot, turnip, herbs, green banana, and star fruit. Roll and dip!

Other stops included the Yoko bar – great place for live music and cocktails. And a “hidden” coffee house. Dim, moody, acoustic music and beverages. We had iced coffees. Hidden, because there’s no sign, you go through what looks like a garage, past a kitchen, up some stairs, through a door and bam- you’re in a cool little coffee bar. I think it was where the local college kids gathered during all the days when they would be considered revolutionaries.