My latest Saigon food obsession is Banh Mi Bistro (yes, it’s a sandwich shop!) at 76 Vo Thi Sau, District 1. Their chicken sandwich is the best – shredded, barbeque chicken mixed with some kind of delicious seasoned mayo (maybe it’s msg that makes it so savoury and tasty?) and lettuce – simple but moreish. I also tried their mint bubble tea, like a dessert in a glass. It was basically a mint flavoured milkshake with ice, tapioca pearls (the ‘bubble’ bit), little cubes of colourful jelly and some grated coconut (but no tea!) – surprisingly refreshing and not as sickly as it sounds.
Behind the bar at Hoa Vien Brauhaus
A Saigon cafe with a French vibe (inside and out!)
Look who’s serving Banh Mi (hehe!)
Then, it was onto Le Petit Cafe to check it out. It’s quite a hidden little spot down an alley off Dien Bien Phu (D1), but well signposted at either entrance to the street. Here, it was time for another cool drink – this time a tamarind juice with plenty of ice and topped with peanuts. A perfect blend of sweet and salty – yum! Le Petit Cafe has a grungy European vibe, dark inside with wrought iron tables and chairs, a chandelier, musical instruments propped against the wall, a bar, smoking patrons and a cat. Upstairs – a cozy room full of young, hip Vietnamese people lounging on cushions, and above that, a roof terrace.
After an aimless wander in the heat we came across an oasis in the form of Hoa Vien Brauhaus, a Czech brewery that’s so impressive, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to go! There’s an amazing wooden bar with copper vats, with a light lager and two types of dark available. There’s a menu of delicious sounding grilled meats and seafood (like wasabi grilled prawns), and Vietnamese dishes too. The light lager was so good (and great value – less than $2 for half a litre!) – and I thought I’d gone off beer…