Got the chance to visit hometown Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam for work. This time under happy pretenses! Visited family and friends. Had a blast. The currency exchange rate is incredible here. 23,312 VND is $1 USD. A bowl of pho is 40,000 VND or so. The main transportation in Vietnam is by Mopad. Grab is the Southeast version of Uber but it allows you to pay at the end with cash (discounte rate) and ride in the back of someones mopad. Which is pretty refreshing with the wind in your face. But also annoying when there’s debris and dust. Definitely best way to travel. The taxis would very likely drive you in circles and sometimes not even know where they are going. I would definitely say traveling is made easier because of Uber and Grab. I love technology.
Went to eat a few times with family. This was on Saturday. We ate at a nice local resturaunt next to the river.
Another day I went to a cozy little resturaunt for dinner with my cousin’s family. Very adorable smart 2 little girls that bombarded me with questions. Mainly because they wanted someone to speak to in English which I happily entertained them. The food here was good. Traditional Vietnamese food. This resturaunt was Bep Nha Luc Tinh
Had a nice little pond in the center of the resturaunt.
Unfortunately I did not take that many pictures of the food because it was so good 🙈
The last year I was in Vietnam was 5 years ago, a lot has changed since. It is probably one of the most fastest growing countries. This is the Time Square building. I did not get a chance to snap a picture but there were a handful of new high rise apartments being built as well. This picture in particular is cool because it contrasts what’s the almost past-current and future.
Another time we didn’t have time to get street food so we settled for retail Pho. Friend showed me Mama Pho. It’s a local chain in Vietnam but the Pho is pretty good and consistent here. They had 3 types of Pho, Pho Saigon (which I got and pictured), Pho Sate and Pho Hanoi.
I had numerous amounts of milk tea or boba tea and some vitamin C smoothies at the legendary Phuc Long. I got 6 bags of coffee to take home, it was about 176,000 VND ($7.65). These guys are the Starbucks of HCMC.
I tried a few of the dishes here, they’re quite decent.
Went to a closeby Japanese BBQ place. It was quite expensive in terms of Vietnamese $ but it was closeby my hotel and the food was fresh. Kimchi is an excellent pallette cleanser and Sapporro is my favorite bear.
My trainee partners took me out to a cute little resturaunt in Benh Thanh, Secret House. Very good tapa/family style Vietnamese style dishes.
Later that week, on Thursday Vietnam had won its second football game against the Philippines. Everyone went wild and celebrated in the streets. I was out with my cousins and it took me about an hour to get home from Grab mopad. So what was the logical move? Join in on the celebration.
The next day I had lunch at a pretty awesome Japanese spot, Saiko Sushi. The atmosphere was great, the variety was amazing, from curry rice to toro sashimi to even ramen. They had almost every Japanese dish you could imagine. There was normal chair seating but then there was sit down on a bench with your shoes off seating. We sat in the latter.
Super Smash Brothers Ultimate came out during the friday and I played it a bit. World of Light is kinda fun and the online netcode is crap. Game is still fun and should be hilarious to play locally. King K Rool is definitely one of the best characters, and Chrom has pretty much replaced the need for Ike. Overall fun game, huge roster.
Went to a nice cozy speakeasy, quite hidden in Ben Thanh. It was really chill. I met some new friends and will definitely go back here next time I am in HCMC.
Last lunch on Saturday we went to King BBQ. This was great and great value. Especially for a buffet. I definitely skipped dinner after this.
I highly recommend visiting HCMC as it is one of the fastest growing cities. It’s quite saturated and you can really get all kinds of food here. The Japanese food presence here is quite great. There are high end shopping malls for your shopping needs too.
I stayed at the Amena Residences & Suites. It’s right in District 1 and right in Little Japan of Vietnam. Next to a 7-Eleven and right across from a Harukari, a Japanese grocery store. The hotel is also right next to Qui, a very nice bar that actually plays decent music and probably has the best cocktails in Vietnam.