Oct 2007

Friday Night Bites


October 5, 2007
Cuisine: Vietnamese

Corner of Ho Xuan Huong Street and Nguyen Thong Street
District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

Phone: none
Website: none


Bo Vien, Ca Vien, Cha Gio Chien – fried meatballs, fish-balls, and eggrolls (12,000 VND)


Xoi Man – sticky rice topped with various meats (5,000 VND)


Xoi Dau Xanh – sticky rice with mung beans (3,000 VND)


Bap Xao Tom Bo – corn sauteed with shrimp, scallions, and butter (5,000 VND)

Before meeting up with friends at the Diamond Plaza for bowling last Friday night, The Astronomer and I headed to the corner of Ho Xuan Huong and Nguyen Thong Street in District 3 for some grub. We’ve driven by this street on several occasions, but never got a chance to sample the goods because we were always on the back of a xe om (hired motorbike).

On this evening, there were several corn dealers (steamed and sauteed), a lone sticky rice hawker, and a man frying up meaty treats on a stick. Feeling especially hungry, The Astronomer went for a three-course feast and purchased from each of the vendors on the street. He has eaten xoi man and bap xao tom bo previously, but this was his first foray into fried-up meat and eggrolls on a stick.

The Astronomer commented that the sauteed corn tasted exactly like the version he ate in District 4. It’s really amazing how standardized street food recipes are in Vietnam! The xoi man was generously topped with cha lua, cha bong, pate, soy sauce, and an oil and scallion mixture. We’ve been on a xoi binge as of late, and this version did not disappoint. The fried meat fest was a let down. The eggrolls, meatballs, and fish-balls turned soggy from the oil rather than crisp and the hoisin sauce was too strong at times. Two out of three isn’t terrible.

For my dinner, I went for a small box of sweet xoi dau xanh sprinkled with salt and toasted sesame seeds (mui me). The xoi was moist and sticky in all the right places and the combination of sweet and salty flavors were delicious. The xoi was so tasty that I went back and bought 2,000 VND more.

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7 thoughts on “Friday Night Bites

  1. I love eating food from street vendors, but I’ve always questioned their cleanliness. From the pictures you took, they look uber-clean and I’m sure they taste just as good. I have to try them when I get back next month. Also, how do you navigate around the city? Do you always hire “xe om”? Or do you rent a scooter/motorbike to drive around?

  2. Hi James,

    I love street food too and find it pretty sanitary for the most part. Vendors aren’t wearing gloves or anything, but the food is fresh (and delicious) and turnover is high.

    These days, The Astronomer and I are zooming around town on a rented motorbike. We caved in two weeks ago because we were tired of taking xe om and taxis. Motorbiking around town is THE best way to get around.


  3. Great site. Food was one of the things that attracted me to come and live in HCMC. Keep up the eating!

  4. If I’m staying 3 or 4 days in SG, do you think I’m better of using taxis/xe om or rent a motorbike? Also, how much does it cost to rent a motorbike daily? Does the new law require you to wear helmet & be possession of a license?

  5. Alan, I will DEFINITELY keep on eating 😉

    James, if you’re a seasoned motorcyclist and are familiar with Saigon traffic, I’d recommend renting a motorbike. You can rent one for $4-5 a day. However, if your motorcycling skills are rusty, go with a xe om or taxi. Beginning in December, helmets are required by law, but licenses are pretty much optional!

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