Location: Ben Thanh Market, Hi Chi Minh, Vietnam (10° 46′ 23″ N, 106° 41′ 54″ E)
Date: 20 May 2010, 9.15am
Camera: Canon 400D with Sigma 17-70/f2.8-4.5
There are not too many things to do in a big city, when one is traveling. Normally cities just serve as a transit point for transportation around the country or in/out of the country. Similarly I did not find Ho Chi Minh (HCM) interesting. If I follow the guidebooks’ recommendations, I will be visiting pagodas in HCM (see this post). However as in most Asian countries, there are 2 major attractions in cities like HCM- shopping and food. Well, what I meant by shopping is shopping for cheap-priced stuff, not the branded ones. Shopping-wise, it cannot compare to China but it has good interesting bargains and some products are unique and of better quality than those found in China.
Food-wise, Vietnam has a few unique dishes and delicacies. Vietnamese food generally is healthy, with lots of vegetables and less oil than the average Asian fares. No one can visit Vietnam without eating pho, the Vietnamese rice noodles- they are everywhere and in every meals. Pretty soon one gets sick of another bowl of pho, no matter how delicious it may be. Another Vietnamese dish that is present everywhere is gui cuon, which is a roll consisting of pork, shrimps, vermicelli and other ingredients wrapped in a clear rice paper. Gui cuon, which is also popularly known as Vietnamese summer roll, is like a spring roll except that is not fried and very fresh tasting. One of the better tasting gui cuon I had was in the food area of HCM’s biggest market, Ben Thanh Market.