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Yum Cha Chats with Hoaprox: Late-night haunts in Ho Chi Minh City for street food

ALWAYS trust a local

  • Hoaprox
  • 24 May 2020

Sunday’s are hard but can be made easier with unexpected delights — so here’s some fluff to get you through it. Inspired by a recent jaunt for dim sum with Miss Yellow in Hong Kong, allow us to present the first of many Yum Cha Chats — which means let’s go eat dim sum and drink tea in Cantonese. The series will dig into the obscure and tasty 'fillings' you never knew about your favourite DJs and have nothing to do with music — every Sunday. Best enjoyed from bed…

Vietnam indeed is a booming country, full of potential for exponential growth — there are so many possibilities to explore when visiting the country with its rich cultural history, beautiful scenery and friendly local people. But best of all is the food — Vietnamese food holds a special place in the hearts of foodies all over the world and a bowl of street-side pho in Vietnam is on the bucket list of many. If you're in the area, we don't want you missing out so we went straight to the source for a handpicked list of the best local spots in Ho Chi Minh City — we went to DJ and producer Hoaprox, an up-and-coming Vietnamese artist who has been spending a lot of time in the limelight as of late. And with clubs in Vietnam starting to reopen, he compiled a 'best of' list of late-night haunts for food in Ho Chi Minh City. Add these spots to your bucket list now.

​Bánh mì (Vietnamese club sandwich)

France had a significant cultural influence on Vietnam, and bánh mì is a great example that. Vietnamese-style luncheon meats, pâté, Vietnamese pickles, cilantro and cucumber are stuffed inside a French baguette and topped off with chilli sauce (no, not Sriracha ... you'll be hard-pressed to find Sriracha as you know it in Vietnam). “The crusty baguette is my go-to choice for breakfast, or anytime at all. It's so easy to get a filling bánh mì everywhere on the street. I get it Bánh mì Huỳnh Hoa at least four times a week.

​ Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese savory pancake)

In bánh xèo, the word xèo refers to the sizzling sound of the batter hitting the hot pot. This pancake-style dish is filled with minced pork, or even chopped-up seafood like shrimp and squid, mung bean, bean sprouts and green onion. “I eat bánh xèo with a side of herbs and veggies for dinner, at a place in district 4 called Bánh Xèo Rau Rừng."

​Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup)

Pronounced as fuh — not pho — one cannot go to Vietnam without eating at least 87 bowls of this. “This is a must-have when it comes to Vietnamese food. There're so many types of pho besides the traditional one, like stir-fried and mixed with sauce. My personal favourite is pan-seared pho, with the beef lightly fried with spinach and put in a traditional broth. You can have it anytime, anywhere, because the taste is made for all occasions. However, to find the right pho taste, you need to locate a restaurant that uses a traditional cooking method, which is braising the bones for the broth for hours — even days — to get the essence of a fine bowl of pho. There's a place on Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai called Phở Số 1 Hà Nội, where I am a regular.”

Bún Chả (Vietnamese grilled pork & noodle)

Bún chả is like pho's lesser known little sister. The famous dish originated in Hanoi, and is made up of grilled pork that comes served with a plate of rice noodles, dipping sauce and lots and lots of herbs. “You might be wondering how to eat this? First you put the grilled pork into the dipping fish-sauce, then you eat it together with bun (rice noodle). It tastes delicious! Obama has tried it, and so should you! There is a place called Bún Chả Hà Nội on 8A/9C2 Thái Văn Lung street in District 1. It’s hands down my favourite place.”

Xôi Gà Chiên (Chicken Sticky Rice)

"This dish is a traditional steamed sticky rice that is deep-fried in oil, then served with pulled chicken on the side. The mixed texture will enlighten your tastebuds. It's a bit strange, but to find the best Xôi Gà Chiên, you must go to the pho shop on Hàm Nghi Street.”

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