Ho Chi Minh CityPerspective > Travel > Ho Chi Minh City
HO CHI MINH CITY
Hot on heels of eating at one of London's finest restaurants, the two Michelin star Le Gavroche, we thought a comparison, a sort of head-to-head between the gastronomic might of each respective city was due. The French restaurant Trois Gourmands did not disappoint. We arrived 30mins late due to what appeared to be an impromptu bridge building exercise and were greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne from the French maître d'. What followed was a five course masterpiece of culinary heights surpassing Le Gavroche. The Coq au vin was exquisite and the 36 hour slow cooked pork melted into every taste bud in our mouths. The maître d' was kind enough to let us mix and match our dishes in the cosy front room and this included smoked salmon which tasted like it had just leapt out a fresh water river in the Highlands of Scotland on to our plates. A coma inducing selection of five cheeses that were made on the premises on varying dates over the past six months rounded the meal off beautifully. True the service was not as slick as your average Mayfair fine dining experience however, the food was outstanding and for $40 for a five course meal you would be hard pushed to find a better experience anywhere in the world.
An interesting place to visit is Alex Cafe. Be warned however, the address on Trip Advisor is wrong it's actually around the corner. It's run by a British expat who does not want to reveal the secret to his bangers and mash recipe and though reluctant to update his restaruant's address appears to miss conversation in English as he barks out Vietnamese to his wife and kid, called Alex. Luckily the 'owner' does not do the cooking, which is just as well, as all the food would probably taste of his tabacco stained fingers; he seems quite content to smoke Craven A and chat away.
Ho Chi Minh City is not short of options on places to rest your head after a humid day sightseeing, partying or a sumptuous meal. We stayed at the hostel Townhouse 50 located in District 1 of Saigon. The place was clean, modern and the staff uber friendly. We didn't rush out of bed for the breakfast the next day, however, they can direct you to a wonderful local Pho place next to the market which gives you the authentic Vietnamese food experience. We stayed there for four nights, drunk a few beers and got a taxi to Chu Chi Tunnels and another to the airport for a grand total of $200 between two people. Great value.
After wandering the streets hearing the occasional chicken scream out its last breath as it becomes dish of the day or the obligatory trip to Chu Chi Tunnels. It's time to see what the city has to offer when the sun sets. We headed to Chill Bar which appeared to be the trendy and happening rooftop bar. The tunes were a mixture of banging house and techno with a healthy dose of pop played by a post-fluro punk Vietnamese chick, a good enough start to any night. From there we sampled a few bars including the institutional dive bar Apocalypse Now, which if anyone has been to Rock Bottoms in Dubai will know the vibe straight on.
Another night we ended up on the popular backpacker street Bui Vien. Now not many people would admit going to Crazy Girls and admittedly it must have been a slow night there, because after checking their Facebook page whilst writing this there was a distinct lack of girls, however, they kept the other half of the bargain and it was certainly crazy. Freeze Flow hit the decks and did an impromptu gig busting out Bonobo and techno slammers under the distinct haze of purple.