Dave went to Vietnam about five years ago and loved it. One of the best things about the country? The street food! And this guest post is all about the deliciousness…
If you’re looking to broaden your horizons, you should consider travelling to Vietnam for your next holiday. There is of course much to explore when it comes to the legacy of the war, but there is so much of modern Vietnam to discover too. Think of cool mountain regions, limestone cliffs, emerald green waters, floating villages and soft white beaches. It’s an infusion of culture for all of your five senses.
Whether you decide to stay in one of the luxury hotels in Vietnam or a simple guest house, you’ll still be able to get a lot out of your trip. That’s because it’s up to you to immerse yourself in experiences, and I don’t think you could choose one much better than sampling the street food.
Tips for tasting Vietnam street food:
Sign up for a tasting tour
It can be a bit overwhelming when you arrive in a country that you aren’t familiar with – that’s why a tasting tour can be a welcome choice for nervy westerners. One such tour, “The Last Great Taste of Hoi An” is run by an Australian who really knows his stuff. He takes people to locations where a nutritionist has personally inspected the food stalls to make sure everything is sanitary and fresh; very helpful indeed if you want to keep your digestive system happy whilst you’re away! Another benefit is getting personal recommendations from someone who has done it all before.
Go where the locals go
Think about all of the tourist shops in your own country – it’s unlikely you’d ever go in there to buy anything! Use the same mind-set when you’re in Vietnam and you’ll have a much more authentic experience. Avoid the markets that are selling various bits and bobs as they aren’t a specialist in anything and are trying to get some easy money from tourists. Instead, see where the locals frequent and you’ll be on to something.
Check hygiene levels
Most places will adhere to pretty good hygiene; for example, meat is often slaughtered, butchered and sold within four hours. The vendors also stock their stall for one day’s worth of food so nothing should be on there for days in a row; if there are lots of flies, you’ll know that isn’t the case. Use your head to figure out whether something looks fresh enough to eat.
Look for specialist sellers
When a stall sells a single dish, you can be pretty sure that they’ll be a master of it. Try pho – the national dish of Vietnam – which is made up of noodles, broth, herbs and chillies. Com tam is just as delicious; it’s a combination of glazed pork steak, meat loaf, omelette, and sticky broken rice. In order to get the best dishes you’ll need to go early (before noon) as the market will close when all the food is gone; remember, the sellers only bring enough ingredients for one day!