A Saigonese at heart, and to me, Vietnamese cuisine is to die. The culture of food is so predominant and so deeply-rooted that food is paramount to Vietnamese people. People use food as a benchmark. When people say “how are you doing?” they don’t literally ask as much. Instead, they say “have you eaten yet?” and, , instead of saying someone has a good soul, the expression literally translates to “they have a good stomach.” As a result, Saigon streets are overrun with vendors, the alleyways are teeming with rice joints and soup stalls and snacks. Roving meals at different times of the day pop up around town. To truly eat well, all you have to do is find an alley filled with food and eat at a busy stall. Or go to the markets in the morning — not Ben Thanh, but to Tan Dinh or Cho Ba Chieu or Bien Tay – and just stuff your face with gloriousness. Exploring Vietnam’s culture, one cannot simply read a book or watch a movie but by indulging in tremendous amount of Vietnamese delicacies, particularly Saigon- a cross road of immigration culture, a glimpse you may have about this wonderful country.
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