One Whirlwind Day in Ho Chi Minh City, Part 1

February 19, 2011

When planning the Vietnam leg of our Asia trip, we were unsure how long to spend in each city. We did some research on the internet, read travel books and spoke to friends for personal recommendations, however in the end it was pretty much guess work. Somehow we came to the conclusion that we would only spend one day in Ho Chi Minh City. And thus, our Whirlwind Day was born. And what a whirlwind it turned out to be…

We explored a large portion of the city by foot, forgoing spending hours at museums and instead opting for people-watching, as we attempted to soak up the culture of this fantastic city via complete immersion and osmosis, Vietnamese coffee in hand.

Here is part one of my ‘One Whirlwind Day in Ho Chi Minh City’ series. I hope you enjoy my snapshot into what I found to be an upbeat, cool city were the people were lovely and the chaos surprisingly organised.

Hilarious/slightly concerning motorbike image of the day :

A young child sitting on an everyday, regular chair strapped to the motorbike with yellow tape. Sure.

Coconuts:

Fresh coconuts off the street – what better way to stay cool and hydrated?

I adore fresh coconuts, and happily sipped away as we wandered the quiet streets. Ho Chi Minh City was only just waking up…

Chicken Soup:

We stumbled across this lovely lady serving chicken soup out of a big pot on a side walk. A young local woman who spoke good English was purchasing a serve, and she encouraged us to try some, “it’s very good!”. So we did. And it was.

A gelatenous-style mixture with shredded chicken, some whole little eggs and shrimp, topped with fresh coriander, fresh black pepper and chilli. It was light and comforting, and reminded Ben of a Chinese style soup that he would eat as a child. I would love to re-create this soup at home, but the style is so incredibly foreign to me, in both texture and taste, that I wouldn’t know where to start…

We left the eggs, we were too chicken *wink wink* to eat them. We weren’t sure what kind they were – possibly quail eggs? I would love to hear any suggestions you may have, regarding the eggs and how to make this soup!

All this before 9am…clearly it was going to be a great day.

Heidi xo

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  • Merowyn February 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I will ask H to use his chef detective skills and try to figure out something similar. It looks like the perfect winter chicken soup! ♥

  • Fikranilam February 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I does look like a quail egg. The gelatinous dressing is probably stock thickened with glutinous rice flour.. 😀

  • Anna Johnston February 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I've never been there but I have been so interested to read this post, looking forward to reading the rest of it too. I've heard the city is awesome & the country is unforgettable. It's absolutely on my list of 'must do' 🙂
    PS: I think I would have left the eggs behind too 🙂

  • Hannah February 19, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Oh, I want pho now! Or maybe Tom Yum soup… and fresh coconuts, which I've never ever had. I love these travel posts, Heidi!

  • The InTolerant Chef February 19, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I'm glad you chose peopl watching too, this way we get to watch too!

  • Michelle Chin February 19, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Fresh coconuts over canned ones anytime!

  • Celeste @ Berrytravels February 20, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Definitely quail eggs. I love them. I adore them. I eat them by the dozens. Absolutely brilliant. Quail eggs. You have to try them next time!

  • cyclicalunemployment February 20, 2011 at 5:20 am

    what an amazing experience. I am so glad I got to see this! those are crazy eats!

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) February 20, 2011 at 10:23 am

    What a wonderful trip! I'm looking forward to reading more!

  • Heidi February 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Merowyn – oooh fabulous, many thanks, I would love your & H's investigative skills!

    Anna – so pleased you are interested in these posts! You'd adore Vietnam, you'd eat it all up! (literally haha, sorry – lame).

    Fikranilam – thanks for the tip! Yes I think you're right. It was so smooth & clear though – I'm sure I'd have a disaster in the kitchen attempting this 🙂

    Hannah – thank you, I hope you got to satisfy your food cravings!

    InTolerant Chef – indeed, I do it for the people 😉

    Michelle – completely!

    Celeste – thank you!! I should try them, thanks for the recommendation! It seems you like them 🙂

    Katherine – it was brilliant 🙂

    Kath – thank you!

    Heidi xo

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella February 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Vietnam is one of my dream destinations! And it's wonderful when locals tell you what is good-they would really know! 😀

  • Iron Chef Shellie February 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    that chicken soup looks amazing!! i think i would have been too chicken to eat the eggs too… 😛

  • Honey @ honeyandsoy February 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Soy and I were planning to go to HCMC this year, but we've had to change our travel plans! 🙁 We will live vicariously through you instead. Those look like quail eggs, which are delish! the soup… omg… has made me salivate. Can't wait to see more of your adventures!

  • hollypop February 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

    you had me until you used the word gelatinous. ewwwww.
    though my nana always said that jelly is the key to a good soup. shudder.

  • Fikranilam February 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Don't forget to post about the disaster then, Heidi. I'd love to read it :d

  • Heidi February 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Lorraine – exactly, listen to the locals 😉

    Michele – it was so delicious!!

    Honey – what a shame! Next time. You'll get there, don't worry 🙂

    Holly – haha, I know, 'gelatinous' has the same effect on me, but I'm trying to overcome this 🙂

    Fikranilam – hehe, sure thing! I don't see it in my near future though. Maybe some day 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Des February 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Vietnamese food is delicious and there's so much variety. I also think pho is the best hangover cure ever made.

  • Phuoc'n Delicious February 28, 2011 at 11:33 am

    The egg is definitely quail egg and I guess the way one would make this soup would be to make a chicken broth with stredded chicken pieces and thicken it up with corn starch. Also towards the end of cooking this soup, mix a few eggs in a bowl and slowly trickle it into the soup as you stir it so you have strands of egg, which should also help thicken the soup a bit.

    LOL I love the dodginess of the straping of the chair onto a motorbike! So funny!

  • Heidi February 28, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Des – agreed!! Pho is so good after a night out.

    Phuoc – ahh thank you! You're an absolute gem! Sounds spot on. Hehe, I'm glad you liked the motorbike picture 🙂

    Heidi xo