What to Eat in China Town
It has been said that Saigon is a paradise of Vietnamese, Asian and Western foods. Saigon cuisine is a blend of many cultures. Hundreds of Mekong Delta foods, foods from Northern Vietnam and Central Vietnam are everywhere on the streets. Chinese foods play a big roll in Saigon foods. China Town is an area where lots of Chinese and Chinese Vietnamese people (or Hoa people) live and work in District 5, 6, 10 and 11 of Ho Chi Minh city. In this area, you can see many signs, temples, churches, houses with Chinese characters. Hoa people still speak to each other in their own language and keep traditional Chinese culture. Certainly, they still cook a lot of Chinese dishes to eat and sell popularly. What to Eat in China Town, Saigon? Dim sum, Toasted duck, Pork organs, Fishball with curry and Sweet soup with tea and egg… are exotic foods you shouldn’t miss when visiting China Town in Saigon. Food experiences are an increasingly important part of experience tourism and culture and food are being interlinked in new and demanding ways.
1. Pha lau
In the West, pork, beef and chicken organs or their ear, nose and tongue may be thrown away but in Vietnam, they can be used to cook many delicious dishes. The most famous food from these thrown parts of pork, beef and chicken is Pha lau. The cook must wash organs, ear, nose and tongue many times and use ginger and wine to remove the bad smell. Then they are marinated with wine, soy sauce, sugar and five-spice powder. Pha lau is usually cooked with coconut water to make it taste at its best. Coconut crème or milk is optional. We also grilled marinated organs on the charcoal to make amazing grilled Pha lau. This food could be eaten with knotgrass, bread or noodles. Would you dare eat this food?
2. Roasted duck
In China Town, especially in Bui Huu Nghia Street, there are dozens of long-standing stalls selling Roasted duck. In the past, Roasted duck is a dish served only the king because the recipe is very complex. The duck is marinated with a secret mix of many spices including five-spice powder, star aniseed… A good Roasted duck must have crispy golden-brown skin and tender fresh meat. Roasted duck is usually served with bread, steamed wheat flour cake or fried wheat flour cake and vegetables such as salad, herbs, cucumber.
3. Kungfu egg noodle
In Saigon China Town, fresh egg noodle is hand-made in the traditional way at rolling metal cart as we can in movie theaters. The noodles are not only chewy but also tender. Because the cook makes noodles without using a machine so that he must be experienced, strong, skillful and patient. His moves look like performing kungfu so that we call this kind of noodle “Kungfu egg noodle”. It’s really interesting to see how the noodle is made while eating a flavorful noodle dish. Kungfu egg noodle is served with braised duck leg and special broth.
4. Slow-cooked silkie chicken with Chinese herb
What to eat in China Town next? I would like to introduce to you a very interesting food – slow-cooked black-skinned chicken with Chinese herb. It’s more than a delicious dish because it’s very healthy. The main ingredient of this food is silkie chicken which has black skin, bones, and flesh because of a genetic mutation. The chicken is cooked with many kinds of Chinese detoxifying herbs which are good for health in Chinese medicine for many hours until the chicken becomes really really soft. The broth must be clear, smelling and raisin black color.
5. Curry fishball
Curry fish ball is one of the most popular street foods in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. There is only one food stall serving Curry fish ball in Saigon China Town. The recipe isn’t very complex and there aren’t many people like this food because of its strange taste. But if you are a curry lover, this food will win your heart at first bite. The chewy fish ball played off with curry sauce looks as good as its taste.
6. Dim sum
Dim sum is small but delicate so that it’s not easy to cook a delicious Dim sum. Shrimp, crab, fish, meat, vegetables … used to make the fillings of Dim sum must be fresh. All of them must be minced and mixed well before being wrapped in dough made from wheat flour and tapioca flour. Dim sum can be fried, grilled or steamed in a bamboo steamer before being served with chili paste and soy sauce. There are dozens of Dim sums available for you to taste in China Town. Do not miss this exotic food – the heart of Chinese cuisine!
7. Chinese sweet soups
After enjoying many kinds of savory dishes in China Town, it’s time to eat some desserts. Chinese sweet soups are less greasy and sweet than Mekong Delta sweet soups and Hue sweet soups. I would like to recommend you to enjoy strange Sweet soup with tea and egg, Sweet soup with papaya, Sweet soup with black sesame…
Now you know what to Eat in China Town, Saigon. How about joining a Saigon Food Tour on which local guides will drive you to China Town? They will tell you What to eat in China Town and tell you interesting stories about this area.