My firm just went to Ho Chi Minh City. I wasn't terribly excited about visiting the city, as I thought it was some poor, undeveloped, boring town type with only handicrafts and amateur artwork for sale. I much prefer going to the beach (where you do absolutely nothing), or big cities (with big designer boutiques to splurge at). I'm not really the visit ruins of old palaces, ruins of old monuments, war museum and/or ruins of war sites kind of person.
Oh boy, were my pre-conceived notions about the ex-French colony wrong. The charming city won me over with its vibrant nightlife (yes, really, they have a number of dance clubs, classy live band joints, and a large population of enthusiastic clubbers), high-end shopping and lifestyle (our hotel had a GUCCI boutique and Ho Chi Minh was where I saw the new BMW 5 series on the roads when it wasn't even launched in Singapore yet), amazing food (their cuisine is very delicate, perfect for the Teochew in me), laidback culture and quaint streets to just stroll around.
The only downside of the trip was the weather. We arrived right smack in the middle of the hot and dry season, where temperatures hovered around 38 to 40 degrees celsius (it was literally fever-hot). It was compounded by the fact that most of the restaurants in Ho Chi Minh didn't have great air-conditioning so we ended up sweating through most of our meals. This is why many of my subsequent posts will be from the room service menu at Sheraton Hotel.
The first place Beeps, Phys, the BF (yup, he came along for my firm trip. I couldn't leave him behind, I'd miss him too much) and I went to Pho24 for some Vietnamese pho (pronounced "fer").
Pho24 is by far, the largest chain of Vietnamese pho restaurants in Vietnam. They had a couple of shops in Singapore for a while (back in 2006, I think), but I think Singaporeans aren't great fans of Vietnamese food, so they stopped operations in Singapore.
The BF got the Pho Bo (Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup with Beef) (VND 42,000). The soup was delicate yet rich, and the rice noodles were soft and smooth (they are handmade fresh every day). The thin slices of beef were robust and tender.
I got the chicken version, Pho Ga (VND 42,000), an even clearer and lighter version of the beef soup. I really loved the chicken soup's pure flavours.
Phys doesn't eat beef, so she got the Com Tam Suon (VND 39,000). She was raving about the grilled pork. Though unassuming in look, the delectable piece of meat won us over with its well-marinated and juicy flavours. The rice was also lightly flavoured with stock. I guess this is Vietnam's version of our Hainanese chicken rice.
We also got the Cha Gio (VND 35,000), deep fried spring rolls, which was brilliant. It was so good we promptly ordered another plate of it.
The shop front.
Pho24 Vietnamese Pho Noodle
71-73 Dong Khoi St
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 3914 2424