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Pho Bo (beef) from Pho 24
I end my story of Saigon with a more upbeat post - this one is dedicated to the food. Vietnamese food is AMAZING. Every dish we had was delicious. We were told that Vietnamese people don't like cooking with heavy oils, so their cuisine is a lot lighter than what you'll find in many Asian countries (much to Joe's relief - the oily food in Singapore is starting to get to him). Fun fact: this is why you won't find McDonald's in Vietnam. (Singaporeans love McDonald's and there seems to be one on every corner - so this was quite the change for me).

Pho 24 was our first food experience in Vietnam - it's Vietnam's version of fast food but it's way healthier. Each of us got Pho Bo (beef pho) which is a traditional vietnamese soup that consists mainly of rice noodles and beef filet. Apparently there are 24 ingredients in the pho we ate (hence the name Pho 24), but the recipe is a secret. I think we should franchise Pho 24 in the states!

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Vermicelli bowl and fried spring rolls
Vietnam is also known for its spring rolls. A restaurant called Wrap and Roll came highly recommended, so we gave it a spin. It was awesome! (Again, we need to franchise this in the U.S. - anyone interested?!?!)

Wrap and Roll was a neat concept - some of the rolls came pre-rolled while others were make-it-yourself. We had make-it-yourself pork rolls, fresh beef spring rolls, fried shrimp rolls and a vermicelli bowl. Vermicelli bowls are delicious - they consist of cold rice noodles, various meat rolls and other vegetables, and come with a vinegar sauce that you pour on top. 

I have to make a special mention about the fruit juice in Asia. Simply put, I LOVE IT! All of the juices are fresh squeezed - even juices like apple juice, which you typically don't think of being freshly made. I had the apple juice at Wrap and Roll and each sip tasted like I was biting into an apple.

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Fresh apple juice from Wrap and Roll
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Beautiful (and yummy) cupcakes!
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Stuffed after a delicious dinner
You know a city is doing well when it has cute little cupcake shops. Much to our delight, we discovered one that had beautifully decorated cupcakes. I had the "Queen Velvet" and Paige had some sort of caramel buttercream one. Yum!

For one of our dinners we ate at nha hang ngon, a restaurant in a beautiful, french colonial home. In an online search, the description of the restaurant is Vietnamese street food served in a classy environment. The environment was really neat - cooks were lined up along the walls in street stall style set-ups. We had vermicelli, beef satay, chicken curry and grilled pork. 

Our food tour continued with L'Usine, a French cafe that Paige's boss suggested. L'Usine is tucked away on the second floor of a building - you have to walk through an alley to get to the staircase. It was a cute cafe with an attached store that reminded me of Anthropologie. In fact, I almost forgot we were in Saigon because the cafe had a New York City vibe.

Once again, the food did not disappoint. The menu included a mix of sandwiches, salads and cheese plates. After eating rice-based dishes for the past week or so, I was excited to bite into thick pieces of bread. I also had a mango-yogurt smoothie (love these - you can find them everywhere in Saigon!) as well as Vietnamese coffee. Vietnamese coffee is thicker than American coffee and is served with condensed milk. It has a rich, nutty flavor and is very strong. Each cup is served with a little drip filter on top, which you remove once the coffee is done brewing. Fun fact: there are no Starbucks in Vietnam because Vietnamese people prefer their own coffee. I don't blame them.

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Roast beef sandwich at L'Usine
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Vietnamese coffee - drip filter on top
8/15/2015 10:24:30

Pho Bo (beef) from Pho 24 is very good. "Pho 24" is the famous brand in Vietnam. Thank for information

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