Our first experience with Vietnamese street food was at Xoi Yen, like all Vietnamese street food the place is named after the dish they serve. Xoi Yen is the sticky rice and they also serve a corn dish as well and you choose what type of meat you'd like on top. We got the barbeque pork on top of sticky rice and it was so good that we came back here for a snack later in our trip as well. The sticky rice has a really nice texture and there is some kind of shaved vegetable on top of that, I that it might have been potato and then there's the fried onions and the meat of your choice. The flavors all balance well and it's quite a large portion for very cheap (a bowl for only $1.50)! If you plan to visit make sure you remember the picture of their sign above, next door there is another restaurant also called Xoi Yen, serving Xoi Yen and even share the exact same street address, but from all our research this one was the better of the two and it definitely didn't disappoint us!
My favorite street food we had was the Bun Bo Nam Bo. Besides just being fun to say (go on, say it out loud, you know you want to) it's also one of the most flavorful dishes we ate. It's amazing how you will see such generic names for food everywhere but one 'beef noodle soup' never equals another 'beef noodle soup'. I use that example because Bun Bo Nam Bo is beef noodle soup but the complexity of flavor they achieve is phenomenal and even after having a large bowl of it I was still craving more! Vietnam is all about a balance of flavors and everything has to have sweet, sour, salty, spicy, etc. in just the right amounts. This dish had it all from beans sprouts to fried onions to winter melon. Oh, by the way, always try and get the street food that sells only 1 or 2 items, those are usually the best because those dishes are their specialty and they've perfected them!
Bun Cha is pork noodle soup and much like the Bun Bo Nam Bo has much more intricacy than the name would suggest. This was one of Katherine's favorites and rightfully so. You also get a TON of food here. You assemble the soup yourself with the broth, pork, noodles, herbs, garlic and spice to your own liking. Pictured below is the pork and noodles for just one person, the garlic and herbs are for sharing though but it's so much! I did go a little crazy with the garlic, it was delicious but I think Katherine suffered from my breath after that...
The Bun Cha place above also served Nem Cua Be which is a crab spring roll. They ran out by dinner time so we came back during the daytime to try this little gem. They have them all cooked and ready to go so it's quick and easy to drop by, they toss them in the fryer to re-warm them and then you're off with a hand held snack. The crab meat really comes to the forefront and permeates through the roll. This is the most unique flavor profile you're going to find in a spring roll, most will be pretty standard (although those taste sooo good too!).
Ok so this is Japanese but we already knew we loved Mochi so we had to stop in and see what crazy flavors they had! Mochi is ice cream/sorbet that is covered in a doughy gummy that is frozen. We got a mango and a durian, and of course the mango was great. I liked the durian but Katherine was not a fan. It's a sweet fruit but it has a slight oniony taste and that can be off putting to some when they aren't expecting it. I guess a lot of people find the flavor offensive but I kinda like it.
You cant see it too well in the picture but at the bottom of this Egg Coffee there is a shot of espresso. On top of that there is an egg/milk mixture that was microwaved and when you get the drink you mix it all together. The result is a consistency similar to custard but a little less viscous and a taste like tiramisu!
Katherine & Bradley
Two engineers with a passion for food and travel! Join us as we eat our way through the world!