Posts Tagged: pho

Vietnam 2015: Saigon

The final leg of our journey through Vietnam, well, it was broken into two legs as we hit Saigon first, then Phu Quoc, then went back to Saigon, but for the purposes of this recap here we are. To be honest, I didn’t take many pictures in Saigon, but that doesn’t mean that we were super lazy, just a little bit. We did venture out to eat some good things, as well as do some shopping (or at least I stood around while emmy perused the shops). I did manage to drive emmy’s uncle’s BMW through a few blocks of District 2, which was quite funny. But mostly, for me, I got to eat a bunch of nice dishes, we ventured out to District 1 most of the time, and wandered up some pretty old buildings, where all the cool, trendy fashion stores (and coffee shops) seem to be nowadays.

  • Mopeds in Saigon
    Mopeds in Saigon
  • Bitexco and the Moon
    Bitexco and the Moon
  • Hip fashion district
    Hip fashion district
  • Notre Dame on Xmas
    Notre Dame on Xmas

I got to enjoy a bunch of new dishes like Bun Cha Ca (fish cake noodle soup) which was awesome! As well as all the regular favourites, so good, no complaints from me that’s for sure, as you can see from the number of food pictures compared to the number of tourist shots. Saigon is definitely a foodie paradise, just so much variety, and very good quality, and the prices, so, so cheap. Popeyes Chicken is basically everywhere and like what KFC should be, spicy deep fried chicken (the chickens must be quite big, cos the pieces weren’t small like KFC). A lot of trendy coffee shops selling all sorts of cakes and desserts, as well as restaurants with foreign themes like the American BBQ place we went to. I love Vietnamese food so the fact that around every corner there is something good and cheap to eat is definitely my idea of paradise.

  • Banh mam cua
    Banh da cua
  • Bun cha ca
    Bun cha ca
  • Hu Tieu
    Hu Tieu
  • Popeyes Chicken
    Popeyes Chicken
  • American BBQ
    American BBQ
  • Cupcakes
  • Thai grilled fish
    Thai grilled fish
  • Thai greens with shrimp sauce
    Thai greens with shrimp sauce
  • Thai fish cakes and salad
    Thai fish cakes and salad

You probably couldn’t tell but my last picture is from Boxing Day, which is five days before we were supposed to leave for Singapore. Turned out that I had contracted Dengue Fever (probably in Phu Quoc) and was incapacitated for a week or so. So I can comment on the medical system of a foreign country for the first time! I stayed at an international clinic (spent a total of three nights over the course of five days in the clinic) on a drip, taking painkillers to keep my temperature at a manageable level. That wasn’t fun, but at least I had a private room and my insurance (eventually) covered the costs, and once I started feeling better and got some appetite, I got a skin rash which was really irritating! At least I got to eat pho ga the last couple days as that was pretty much all I wanted (could) to eat :D.

We were staying with family so nothing to report on accommodation, but in terms of transport, I can safely say that the way to go (if you can speak Vietnamese) is uber, it’s much cheaper than taxis and seems to be pretty available and on time in most places. Probably the only time it might be an issue is late at night and if you’re not in the central city area. The cars we rode in were all quite new and in good condition (and clean), at least as good as taxis, usually better.

So we ended up staying a few nights extra in Vietnam, didn’t go to SIngapore, and went straight back to Australia where I had a few more days to recover before heading back to work, and settling our new house! Very hectic period for us, but it’s mostly settled down now, and I can (hopefully) get back to posting some more stuff on here, and not just foodie posts too, although I hope to be able to keep that up to some degree. We went to Sorrento last week, but I don’t have much to report (I might do a short restaurant review), this week we’ve gone up to Mount Dandenong (Sky High Observatory) for a bit, so I will post some pictures (and laughs) from that later this week.


Home-made Pho!

After over thirty years of eating others’ delicious pho cooking, I finally got off my arse and with the guidance and assistance of my lovely girlfriend managed to cook my own pho, and I must say, it tasted quite reasonable for a first go, and certainly can only be improved upon. For my reference and for you to steal if you like, but please, if you somehow make money from this recipe please send me some royalties! You know all the sides/garnishes, and if you don’t, rice noodles, beef sliced thinly (eye fillet is best), spring onion and coriander chopped, onion sliced thinly, bean sprouts, chopped chilli, lemon juice, and some thai basil. Use fish sauce for seasoning, and if you have some hoisin sauce for dipping the beef in, all the better.

  1. Boil water, bring it to a really high bubbly boil, and add the beef bones/ox tail (one kilo más o menos) to the water for ten minutes.
  2. Discard the water, clean the bones, and clean the pot.
  3. Add the bones back to the pot with cold water (you can estimate how much water you need to suit the strength of the flavour you prefer).
  4. Add the spices to the water (in a muslin bag if possible):
  5. 1x stick of cinnamon, 2x star anise, a few cloves, 1x black cardamon.
  6. Cook up an onion (skin on), and a bit of ginger (unpeeled) toasting the sides, get them a bit charcoal-y.
  7. Peel the onion and ginger and add to the broth.
  8. Bring the stock to the boil.
  9. When the broth is boiling and bubbling hard, start skimming the scum out.
  10. Bring it down to a simmer, and let it simmer for a few hours (or if you have a thermal pot even better, let it sit in there over night).
  11. Add abouth one and a half tablespoons of garlic salt (or some kind of nicely flavoured salt) for seasoning (don’t worry we will still use fish sauce later).
  12. Remove all the stuff, and there’s your broth!
Ingredients for pho

Ingredients for pho

My serve of Pho (bowl too small, not enough broth)

My serve of Pho (bowl too small, not enough broth)


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