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BREAKFAST // vietnam

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» Places to Party in Ho Chi Minh City: Bars and Clubs
» Places to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City: Legend Hotel Saigon
» Getting There: Ho Chi Minh City Airport
» Buying Real Estate in Vietnam?
» Learning Basic Travel Vietnamese

VIETNAM IS PRACTICALLY THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IN WHICH I CAN BE BOTHERED TO EAT BREAKFAST. In other countries I will sleep right through it, right up until noon if I can manage it, and then I will often skip lunch as well. Not so in Vietnam... no matter what time I hit the sack, I will almost always drag myself out of bed for breakfast. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, I usually stay in a hotel when I am in the country, and an in-house breakfast is part of the deal. It is worth my while to take advantage of it. But they put on a free breakfast breakfast too at my Mum and Dad's house in Australia, and they usually have to force me to take part. Soggy cereals have never really appealed to me (although Vegemite on toast is palatable I suppose!) A pity about the lousy coffee (at my Mum and Dad's house at least). Here in Japan where I live now they have a wonderful cuisine, and they don't mess with soggy Cornflakes or boiled eggs at breakfast time. That said, I am not generally up for a whole bowl of plain rice so early in the morning, nor I am up for a tray of pickled vegetables. The steaming green tea and miso soup I could guzzle, but I wouldn't want to have to bother boiling and cooking it. So I choose to sleep, and wait until dinner, when sushi comes to the table.

Skipping breakfast is of course bad for your health. I am glad that Vietnam taught me that, to wake up and smell the coffee.

Banh mi always makes the foundations for a perfect breakfast

Condensed milk doesn't have a high status in most of the world these days, but in Vietnam it seems to fit in perfectly. It provides the soft sweet counterweight to the bitter strength of the coffee, a white yang to the coffee's black yin. The name of this product Hoàn Hảo means "smoothly done".

Banh mi always makes the foundations for a perfect breakfast

Chicken curry with carrots and potato and spring rolls, fried rice with lettuce and beautiful bread... Vietnamese hotel breakfasts are always a veritable smorgasbord. The boiled eggs are so edible that you can, quite literally, eat the shells as well (they must have soaked them in salt or something to soften the shells.) Reams of raw rice paper studded with sesame seeds make a great treat, especially when you dump a bunch of it into the chilli-powered fish sauce.

Breakfast served at the place formerly known as the Sunflowers Hotel, which has changed its name to the Emerald Hotel or something like that, and gone a little more high market.

Chicken curry is one of the great unknown treasures of Vietnamese cuisine and makes ideal breakfast food. For the best effect, dip a chunk of Vietnamese bread into the curry until the innards go soft. The Emerald Hotel in Thnh phố Hồ Ch Minh offers quite a sumptuous spread, or at least they did back in the late 00s when I stayed there with Nga.

Banh mi always makes the foundations for a perfect breakfast

Bánh mì op la derives its name from the French oeuf au plat, and literally means "fried egg on bread". That might sound boring, but this is Asia... here even the most mundane meal is elevated into a symphony of textures and flavours. In actual fact it is a baguette stuffed with a French-style omelette, cucumber slices, the ubiquitous cilantro, the even more ubiquitous chilli, pork liver pt, and possibly even roast pork. know

Banh mi always makes the foundations for a perfect breakfast

Bánh mì Beefsteak pairs Bo ne (grilled beef steak, sunny-side-up eggs, pt, and various accompaniments) and the aforementioned baguette. I ate this one not in Vietnam but actually at Link and Pin in Woy Woy, near Sydney, Australia, in 2023. In Vietnam it used to cost 25,000đ; in modern Australia it goes for AUS$22... more than 20 times more expensive!

Bo Ne Do at Link and Pin Cafe in Woy Woy, Australia, where I stopped for breakfast in 2023!

Normally, I don't eat salad, unless it's a Thai salad; meanwhile, Vietnam is the only country where I will get up for breakfast. A little later in the day, a plastic cup of iced Milo always hits the spot, and makes for a perfect mid-morning pick-me-up. If you want to stray somewhat off topic you can check out my site about the kebab scene in Tokyo, Japan. They don't make kebabs with banh mi bread in Harajuku! For more authentic looking and tasting kebabs in Saigon, specifically in District 3, read this Gastonomy Blog.

Milo for 6000 Dong a glass above the Co-op Supermarket on Bui Xuan Thi Street, Q.1, HCMC

hone: 08 839 0187. Map/price details: click here.
This is said to be one of the best hu tieu restaurants in Saigon, with air-conditioning, wide rooms and a "good sanity condition", according to the

Hu Tieu Nam Vang Ty Lum: 93 Huynh Man Dat St, Ward 7, District 5. Phone: 08 923 5904. Map/price details: click here.
This place has been serving native Cambodian Hutieu flavors ever since the 1970s.

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