Virtual Tourist, the leading free, travel-oriented community has recently named Ho Chi Minh City among the world’s top ten cities for street foods. It was also recommended on Reuters’ Travel Picks column.
“Vietnamese cuisine has received some major street cred in recent memory (Anthony Bourdain’s praise comes to mind), and a quick visit to HCM City’s Ben Thanh or Binh Tay Markets explains why,” the travel site introduced about Vietnamese foods.
The Virtual Tourist team praises the street food heritage in Ho Chi Minh City for embracing a mix of cultures, primarily the city’s French colonial background with Vietnamese spices and ingredients. Dishes that get special mention from the team are Pho, Banh Mi(Vietnamese-style baguette), Bo la lot(seasoned beef wrapped in betelleaf), Spring rolls and Com tam (steamedbroken rice with a fried egg on the top).
Virtual Tourist also gives advice to tourists coming to the country for the first time.If hygiene is a concern, travelers are advised to always choose popular, crowded stalls with high turnover.
Other cities in the list are Bangkok, Singapore, Penang, Marrakech, Palermo, Istanbul, Mexico City, Brussels and Beachside Ceviche in Ambergris Caye. This is not the first time HCM City is votedas the top haven for street food. Earlier this year, the city was ranked among the world’s top ten cities for street foods by the US’s monthly culinary magazine Food & Wine. The popular travel guide book Lonely Planet also listed Banh mi as one of the most scrumptious street foods around the world.
Vietnamese Spring Roll
The fried version with minced pork is called chả giò (southern Vietnam), nem, or Nem rán (northern Vietnam); it has been mistakenly referred to as an egg roll or spring roll on some restaurant menus. Central Vietnam has its own version of a “fried roll” called “Ram.” “Ram” is always made from whole shell-on shrimp or chopped deshelved shrimps and some green onion, wrapped in rice paper and deep fried. “Ram”, like most food items from central Vietnam, are not widely available in Vietnamese restaurant overseas. The collective Vietnamese “egg rolls” are different from the Chinese egg roll in that it is typically smaller and contains ground or chopped protein such as pork, crab, shrimp (but rarely) chicken, taro, glass noodle, wood-ear mushrooms and shredded carrots. It would be more correctly referred to as a “Vietnamese fried Roll”. It is sometimes called eggrolls even though no eggs are used in the making. Rice papers are always used as the wrappers in Vietnam. Vietnamese restaurants in western countries tend to use the Chinese eggroll wrappers due to the inavailability of rice papers initially. However, some restaurants have slowly reverted back to using rice papers now that they are widely available.