After my first visit to Saigon in March 2012, I have been coming to this vibrant city pretty often. There are few things that made me keep coming back. It’s pretty obvious that Vietnamese street food is one of the main reason but going through the immigration without having to fill in embarkation card is super awesome too. Then there’s the cheap bus ride from the airport to Ben Thanh Market that will cost me only VND4000 ( approx $0.20 ). It is really convenient to hop on to the bus that’s always parked right outside of the airport terminal.
Clean and affordable hotels in the city center are aplenty. So I bet in recent years, many tourists have been flocking to this country well known for it’s Pho and spring rolls. Another reason is that I have a good friend who is based in Saigon. He is half Vietnamese and knows his places really well.
Every time I come visit, he will have some new food places to bring me. By now he really knows the kind of food joints that I fancies and he never fails to excite me. This time around, he brought me to a place that is specializing in snails and shells. This is the kind of food joint that is not located in prime area but tucked in some alley. The clientele would be regulars or people in the know of good food. I like restaurants like these as opposed to those that are situated in prime location where most of the customers would be consist mostly of tourists or passersby.
From experience, restaurant of food stalls like these always serve the best food and price is always cheap. Not located at prime area certainly has it advantages like cheap rental.
The restaurant has no fancy decor, just the usual low stools and tables just like most roadside food joints in Vietnam, just the way I love it. My friend point to some Vietnamese words that are plastered on the wall of the food joint. “We prefer one customer that will come 1000 times rather than 1000 customers that will only come once”. Such wise words and my friend went through the menu and start ordering away. Portions are purposely made small as Asian loves to try many time of dishes at one sitting. Makes the dinning more interesting in my opinion when you get to try all sorts of different stuff shared with friends.
I don’t really know the names of the dishes that my friend ordered but everything tasted really good. If you don’t speak Vietnamese, fret not as the menu has pictures with English. Enjoy the pictures and I have included the address of the restaurant at the bottom of this post. Total of the bill was VND470,000 with 3 beers and 1 soft drink.
Hem 25 (meaning, alley 25) Nguyen Binh khiem Street.