HCMC STREET FOOD ALL UNDER $2
One of the many joys of travelling is the food and when you’re travelling Asia, it has to be the street food.
Which is exactly what I enjoyed while in Ho Chi Minh City. There’s a place called Turtle lake, which isn’t a lake.
More a big roundabout that is a popular spot for locals to grab a light bite to eat in the evening.
Almost everything was under $2! (I obviously went wild and tried everything I fancied without worrying about my wallet)
Turtle lake is located in district 3 among the busy roads. It’s one part roundabout, one part water sculpture feature and one part local hang out place.
Talk about multi-use urban planning!
The food doesn’t start to come alive until around 5pm onwards, where stalls start to set-up around the parameter of the massive circle.
The initial plan was to grab a bite, explore and then head for dinner, but I ended up having dinner here. (oh and spent my entire evening here as well!)
What I got:
1. Bánh Tráng Nướng (Vietnamese Pizza) 25,000 Dong; USD$1.10; AUD $1.60
A grilled rice paper wrap that is then sprinkle with a mixture of chopped ingredients. Savoury, slightly sweet. Vietnamese pizza/ taco, just great finger food you can easily eat as you walk.
2. Bắp Xào Tôm Khô (Stir Fry Corn with Dried Shrimp) 25,000 Dong; USD$1.10; AUD $1.60
A very simple dish that’s actually very satisfying. The corn was chewy with a different texture than the usual sweet corn I’m use to in Australia. It was simply a yummy and filling snack!
3. Bánh Trứng Nướng Thập Cẩm (Grilled Quail Egg Cake) 30,000 Dong; USD$1.30; AUD $1.90
They use some hardcore firepower while making this. A small contraption that has 6 compartments is heated up with a quail egg in each and then also topped with a bunch of sauce and toppings.
Creamy, salty, a fun mix of textures. This one got a big thumbs up!
4. Há Cảo (Shrimp dumplings) 20,000 Dong; USD$0.85; AUD $1.30
I was too tempted to give this a try when I saw the sign. It’s Vietnamese style shrimp dumplings you get in your Chinese Yum Cha place.
However…I’ll skip on this one.
5. Bánh Tráng Trộn (Rice paper salad) 20,000 Dong;USD$0.85; AUD $1.30
I saw a lot of people ordering this, which got me too curious to not try it myself. It’s rice paper wrap shredded and then mixed with a bunch of stuff and served in a plastic bag.
…I’ll skip this one as well. It was like eating a plastic bag out of a plastic bag.
6. Hột Gà Nướng (a type of egg?) 10,000 Dong;USD$0.43; AUD $0.64
Not knowing any Vietnamese except for “thank you”, I survived the evening by pointing. When I pointed at the egg, I thought I was ordering Balut, since it was also a specialty in Vietnam.
It wasn’t balut.
It was a seasoned egg boiled! I only learnt this after the fact. They make a small hole in the egg, add seasoning, mix it all up and grill it until cooked! It explains the weird colour and it explained the seemingly missing egg yolk.
7. Trà Chanh (Lime Tea) 15,000 Dong;USD$0.65 AUD $0.95
To end the night, I needed to wash it all down with a drink and headed towards one of many drink stalls serving various refreshments I did not recognise. I used the classic point method and found myself with a deliciously refreshing lime drink!
Watch the video above to see how to get there and what every item looks like!