Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve

We leave for our tour of north Vietnam in the early hours of tomorrow morning, so today was a free day for us to explore the part of Saigon that we’re staying in. All the women in the tour group went out and got manicures, pedicures and our hair done. Pampering is definitely something everyone needs to do on holidays, and what’s better than being pampered for a fraction of the price that would be charged back at home.

Afterwards we went out for lunch at a place called Bánh xèo Ăn Là Ghiền. Banh Xeo is also known as Vietnamese pancakes. They are more like a crepe than a pancake, but are much thinner. The edges are crispy and is thicker towards the centre. It's filled with any fillings you like; generally pork and shrimp. It's yellow like an omelet but the colour comes from the turmeric which is added into the batter mixture which also contains rice flour, corn flour, coconut milk and water.  

I was happy to see that they had a vegetarian section on the menu which took up a full page! Cool man! There were heaps of different vegetarian fillings, but I ended up going with the mixed mushroom one and the cassava one. They were even good enough to give me some vegan dipping sauce, which is pretty much like nuoc cham, except they substitute the fish sauce for soy sauce.  

What I also liked about this place was that they cooked the banh xeo behind a counter out the front of the restaurant. I ordered some take away for my mum and my friend and I had a good time watching them being made. They had special skillet type woks. They poured the batter along the edges so that it would pool into the centre. This way, the edges are super crispy. They had take-away boxes for the banh xeo, and put that all together in a big bag with the fresh salad that you traditionally eat it with, and of course the nuoc cham. So cool! I don't think take-away banh xeo will ever become a thing in Perth. But I'll cross my fingers for it to happen. 





The view from my hotel in Saigon :)

I also had a boiled jackfruit seed today (the two things in the front). I love jackfruit (the yellow thing on the left), and now that I know the seeds are edible, it just makes the fruit even more awesome. The seed tastes pretty good too! A bit like a chestnut :)

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