Day 14: Saigon: The European-feeling Asian City

Saigon’s Coffee and Food

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Vietnamese‚Äč FOD: Nguyen is the most popular family name in Vietnam, used by around 40% of the population and is also the birth name of the famous Ho Chi Minh.

Everyday Randomness: I discovered today that I share a birthday with Ho Chi Minh himself who is endearingly referred to as “Uncle Ho” here.

Upon reading about the breakfast in “Au Parc” we decided that it was worth the 20 minute walk to get something a bit different. It is obviously french and is located with a lovely view of the park. It is positively European. The beautifully fresh bread served with their own homemade jam and chocolate spread was divine (caveat I love fresh bread). The coffee was beautiful and second only to the egg coffee in Hanoi. We were treating ourselves with this breakfast in terms of price but it was very high quality and you would not walk away hungry!  As a side note the salads at lunchtime looked amazing and were served in very generous portions.

We changed hostels and went to the backpacker hostel by the name of The Hangout. Staff were very nice and one in particular seemed to know everyone’s name which is impressive to say the least! She also owns a puppy which she decided to bring to work much to the delight of everyone else:

The hostel lacks a chill out room with hammocks or bean bags but besides that it’s pretty good and very good value ($8 dollars incl breakfast). 

After we settled in we went on the hunt for a Chromecast as the transition evenings could be improved by an episode of a series that would otherwise be spoilt for us if we wait two months to watch it! It was out of stock in the first shop and while trying to locate the second shop there was an almighty downpour so we had to abandon our quest and head back for showers.

As it was Sunday, the hostel organised a communal dinner with unlimited food. It was pure Vietnamese but different to what you would get in a restaurant. The chicken legs were very meaty for one but were covered in this interesting orange infused sauce. There were meetballs, fresh bread, battered prawns…we were all very full by the end! It was a good way to get to know a few people on the first day. 

The “chill vibe” the hostel wanted to create/have turned out to be quite strict as the food and bar area was closed at 9pm. We were brought to the sister hostel down the road where they had a rooftop bar and pool table. As space was at a premium, the pool table was the centre of attention. A pair of Aussies with snooker gloves on were beating every opponent going!

There was no pub crawl, so we headed back to our own hostel after the rooftop bar closed and were disappointed not to find any fried noodles going on the side of the street. It’s our usual replacement for a bag of chips at the end of a night, however it wasn’t to be tonight!

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