Aug 7-27, 2018
Pho Beef Soup Exploration of Ho Chi Minh City
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Currency Rate Exchange: US$1 = ~VND23k
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From its humble beginnings in the north of Vietnam, Pho has been a runaway international bestseller that has graced the fashionable enclaves of the world's culinary capitals. My first Pho was actually in Toronto and the mint fusion made it one of the best beef noodle soups I've tried. Here in HCMC, every street corner serves Pho - either from a food cart, a home eatery or a sit-down restaurant. It is basically a clear beef or chicken noodle soup infused with spices and herbs. Taste the broth first and then squeeze the lime - notice how the lime improves the taste! Now, you can dump as much veggies as you can into the soup - bean sprouts, basil, culantro and others I can't pronounce.
Pho vary wildly in price from VND35k to VND75k. I tried the popular Pho Le at VND75k and tried a home eatery Pho at VND35k. Sure, the Poh Le is marginally better, but not great value at more than double the price! I've tried Pho randomly along streets too, ranging from VND35-45k. I've looked online for best Pho in HCMC and it seems there is no consensus on who is the best - but look into the map for some of the locations talked about. Everyone with an opinion seems to have a favorite one.
Ending Thoughts Again, like the Banh Mi and Banh Canh Cua, you'd be hard-pressed to find bad Pho in HCMC. Just try out any Pho eatery you see. Chances are, the main difference is in the tenderness of the beef used. For best value, try the roadside Pho. The Vietnamese know Pho inside-out - it's already in their DNA. You simply cannot get bad Pho here.
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Featured HCMC Food
- Coffee - rediscovering the vibrant coffee tradition of Ho Chi Minh Cithy
- Banh Mi - baguette street sandwich with deli-meat cuts
- Pho - beef or chicken noodle soup
- Banh Canh Cua - crab/shrimp noodle stew (thick soup)
Reader Comments:Edsel Alonso
(Aug 25, 2018) Take care in eating raw veggies...1 in 10 Vietnamese infected with hepatitis B....When we were there with Mayor Tommy eating street food, I would ask a empty bowl, pour boiling water, dump the veggies... i minute, poured out the hot water and added cold water to the veggies... people look at us acting strangely but no Hepatitis
(Aug 25, 2018) 1 in 10? Sounds alarming. Thanks for the heads-up!
Next stop: Exploring Binh Tay Market, Ho Chi Minh City
HO CHI MINH CITY BLOGS
- Nomad Travel Buddy Aug 27, 2018
- 20 Days in Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7-27, 2018
- Exploring Binh Tay Market, Ho Chi Minh City Aug 26, 2018
- Pho Beef Soup Exploration of Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7-27, 2018
- Rediscovering the Cafe Tradition of Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7-27, 2018
- Where is the Best Banh Canh Cua in HCMC? Aug 7-27, 2018
- In Search of the best Banh Mi in Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7-27, 2018
- Peoplescape of Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7-27, 2018
- Rediscovering Ho Chi Minh City Aug 7, 2018
- AO Show, Ho Chi Minh City Apr 10, 2015
- Free English Apr 1, 2015
- Teaching English to Vietnamese Apr 1, 2015
- 20 Days in Ho Chi Minh City Mar 22 - Apr 12, 2015
- Discovering Ho Chi Minh City's Cafe Culture Nov 9 - Dec 17, 2014
- Ho Chi Minh City's Fascinating Motorbike Culture Nov 18, 2014
- Exploring Ho Chi Minh City (Ho Chi Minh City) Nov 9, 2014
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ben Xe Mien Dong
Mien Tay Bus Station
Saigon Railway Station
Tan Son Nhat International Airport
Sakura Hostel Cholon - 9.0 Stars (out of 10) from 24 reviews on Booking.com based on cleanliness, comfort, facilities, staff, value for money, free wifi and location!
How to Get to District 1 (HCMC) from the Airport (Tan Son Nhat International Airport)
- take the #109 Airport Bus (5:30am to 1:00am, departs every 15-20 minutes, 45 mins, 20k Dong or $1.00) Route: International Terminal - Domestic Terminal (Tan Son Nhat International Airport) - Truong Son - Tran Quoc Hoan - Hoang Van Thu - Nguyen Van Troi - Nam Ky Khoi Nghia - Ham Nghi - Le Lai - Ben Thanh Bus Station - Pham Ngu Lao - 23/9 Park
- get off at 23/9 Park to get to the cluster of backpacker hostels
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Tips
- best money changer rates in District 1 is Ha Tam Jewelry near Ben Thanh (refer to map for location)
- unlike most destinations in Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is too big for the major bus companies to provide a drop-off service with their shuttle minivans. If you are coming by bus, you get off either at the Western Bus Station or Eastern Bus Station depending on where you are coming from. From there, you can take the cheap local bus, the Xe Buyt to get you closer to your destination.
- you can get around the city by moto-taxi or rent a motorbike - but be warned that motorbike riding in Ho Chi Minh City is unlike riding anywhere else in Asia!
Ho Chi Minh City Cost Index
Budget price in budget places (US$1 = Vietnam Dong VND 23,255 = Php 53.20 as of Aug 1, 2016)
- VND 10-15,000 baguette sandwich (banh mi)
- VND 25-30,000 noodle soup (pho)
- VND 10-15,000 black filtered coffee
- VND 5,000 sugar cane juice (nuoc mia)
- VND 8-10,000 fresh coconut
- VND 10,000 one beer bottle
- VND 10,000 1.5 liter drinking water
- VND 80,000 bicycle rental, 24 hours
- VND 80,000 cheap lodging
- VND 10,000/kg laundry
- VND 8-10,000/km but flag-down starts at 20,000 motorcycle ride
- VND 20-35,000 rice meals (com tam)
- VND 100-140,000/day motorbike rental
Vietnam FYI / Tips / Dos and Don'ts
- Hanoi Grapevine HCMC Update - for the latest events in Vietnam
- Vietnam establishments will not accept US dollars, unlike Cambodia. You have to use Vietnam Dong (US$1 = Vietnam Dong VND 23,255 = Php 53.20 as of Aug 1, 2016)
- Vietnamese smokers will smoke in air-conditioned establishments, air-conditioned buses packed with people including women, children and babies. They also smoke inside hospitals with no smoking signs.
- Vietnam ranks almost the same as Thailand and Cambodia for cheap price. Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia cost more
- internet speed is generally fast and reliable but during important events like Tet holiday, election, etc., it slows down
- Vietnamese generally do not speak or understand much English. It will be a challenge.
- best to dress appropriately, not revealing too much skin (Saigon is an exception - the ladies there set the trend in very short shorts)
- remove your shoes when entering a home or place of worship
- ask first before taking someone's picture. If they say no, don't persist or offer money
- best to carry your hotel's business card with you when going out. You can just show it to the cab driver or XeOm driver if they don't understand English
- leave your valuables, passport, travel tickets, etc. with the hotel's safety deposit box
- when lying down, don't point your feet or the soles of your shoes to anyone or to a family altar
- carry only enough cash for your needs that day
- don't lose your temper in public - Vietnamese people are warm, generous and polite. They look down on people who lose their composure
- don't take pictures of military installations - you can go to jail
- refrain from taking videos of minority people until permitted to do so
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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