I USUALLY END UP EATING A LOT OF INDIAN FOOD WHENEVER I AM IN HO CHI MINH CITY. That's not because I don't dig Vietnamese food, I do like it, but I like Indian food just a little bit more. Perhaps it is because of my Caucasian heritage -- it is in the blood. And I live (nominally) in Japan, so I get to eat East Asian food all the time. South Asian food is considerably harder to come by, so I grab the opportunity to snatch it, whenever I can. The meat is traditional Middle-Eastern nonetheless, cut from a spinning spit right on the side of the street. True Halal eating Muslims might be revolted by some of the meats on offer at Vietnamese kebab stands -- pork is one of them. Like your average Turk, I prefer lamb. Beef or chicken is a good enough alternative
When I lived in Australia rogan josh became my favorite food. My Friday night delight involved sucking down a few cones, drinking some Hanh Ice beer (or a lot), and ordering rogan josh take-out. Usually with cheese nan and maybe some fruity Kahmiri rice.
On the corner of Bui Xuan Thi Street and x is this place. It costs 13,000 Dong for one sandwich. The mayonaisse is served out of a Zero-O green tea bottle.
I first became alerted to the Indochinese kebab scene in September last year, during a visit with my parents to Hanoi. One of the first things I noticed was that they call kebabs kebaps here, or to be more precise banh mi kebap. One of the second things I noticed was that Vietnamese kebabs were not served with the customary pita bread and Mideast herbage (that's why they are called banh mi kebap!) Read The Last Appetite's review of Cafe Goethe in Hanoi for a fuller illumination of what, exactly, a Vietnamese kebab experience is all about. 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 Japan, but do sometimes drop wierd stuff into the pita such as mashed bananas. That happened to me one cold night near Yoyogi Park in Harajuku! For more authentic looking and tasting kebabs in Saigon, specifically in District 3, read this Gastonomy Blog review. Interestingly, the kebabs here seemed to be stuffed with chicken; Vietnamese apparently dislike the taste of lamb.
Next to Le Pub... Indian restaurant with cheese nan, Mutton rogan josh and Tiger beer for some 120,000 Dong. When I go there tomorrow I want to try the Goan curries!
"Vendors tailor each bowl to the customers' desires. In the winter, customers sit next to the red-hot stove and the boiling broth, covering their bowls with their hands, slurping the broth, skewering the noodles with their chopsticks, and biting into pieces of meat. Even food connoisseurs in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City admit to a love of Bun bo Huế, especially when it is served in Huế."
There are plenty of places in Ho Chi Minh City to eat Bun bo Huế, among them:
La Cantina: 175/3 Pham Ngu Lao St., Ward 1. Phone: 08 3920 7252, 3886 0369.
This restaurant is tucked into one of my favorite alleys in Ho Chi Minh City, off the busy Pham Ngu Lao Street. Despite the blandness of the food, it seems to be constantly busy. There is a motobike or Vespa or something hanging on the wall, adding to the decor. I had some kind of chicken platter there one night in 2010 which was okay, but not the most amazing dish I have ever eaten. You can also order pizza, barbeque dishes, and Vietnamese cuisine.
Hu Tiu Hong Phat: 389-391 Vo Van Tan St, Ward 5, District 3. Phone: 08 839 0187. Map/price details: click here.
This is said to be one of the best hu tieu restaurants in Saigonm.
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.