"Traditional meal-Part 3(Enjoying the lunch)" Ho Chi Minh City Travelogue by sunshine_01

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide: 3,155 reviews and 7,298 photos

At last, we could tucked into the food. The table was spread with home cooked dishes: Fried spring rolls, stir fried kang kong, lightly boiled fresh water snails with lemon grass, stir fried prawns and pork belly, pumpkin and peanut soup and iced green orange juice with honey and a bowl of dipping sauce.

The tumeric in the stir fried pork and prawn gave a lovely hint of yellow to the dish. Another way of colouring this dish would be to add caramelised sugar to it. It will give a deeper hue of colour, slightly brown, and also add some nutty flavour to the dish.

The snails were lightly boiled with lemon grass and some seasoning. It was not too difficult extracting the snail from the shell. The protective lid was removed. Next, the snail was held in one hand and you poked the wooden skewer into the meaty part of the snail. While you were pulling out the snail, you had to give a slighly twisting motion to the hand holding the snail. The edible part is only the front part of the snail(approx. an inch). It had a slightly crunchy texture(part nearer to the protective lid) as well as a chewy texture.

We knew that crispy spring rolls(Cha Gio) and the fresh rice paper rolls(Goi Cuon) were Vietnamese specialities. However, I tried something different today, I ate both at once! It was another way of eating the fried spring rolls. I placed the herbs, lettuce, cucumber and a fried spring roll on top of a rice paper. Then you wrapped all of it up. The dry rice paper used were so thin and flexible that you do not need to soften them with water before use.

According to Ms Thu(host), the method of wrapping the fried spring roll with the rice paper originated from the Central Vietnam. Well, I called it a spring roll within a spring roll. I must say it was simply delicious especially the fried spring roll had added a nice crunch to it.

The finale of the day...is the dessert(cold). I had a bowl of lotus seed top with bird nest. By the time, I had my dessert I was filled to the brim with food.

My two lovely volunteer guides and host from Saigon hotpot(white t-shirts), and not forgetting Ms Thu's cousin in the foreground.

I had an enjoyable day with the volunteer guides and the host family; we ate and chatted. It was not everyday that you get invited and welcomed to a local's home for a meal especially when you are a total stranger. I would like to extend my thanks to the 4 "chefs of the day" for this wonderful experience.

  • Page Updated May 5, 2012
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