Chinatown in District 5 is home to most Chinese Vietnamese living in Saigon. These Chinese are very proud of their heritage and have even set up schools and markets to preserve their culture. This uniqueness is best demonstrated along Tran Hung Dao and Nguyen Trai street in which red lanterns are hung in front of literally every house as an indication that a Chinese family resides within these 4 walls.
“Banh xeo” is considered one of the most popular street snacks in Southern Vietnam. It is a pancake made from rice flour, water and turmeric powder or coconut milk topped with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts. The cake is then wrapped in a variety of leaves (such as mustard leaves, lettuce leaves, mint leaves, basil, fish leaves) and herbs, and dipped into a special Vietnamese fish sauce called “nuoc mam”.
Pho (pronounced as ‘fer’) is a popular Vietnamese beef and noodles soup, cooked with basil, lime, bean sprouts and peppers. Pho as we know it today, have evolved into the various types and styles, each representing a certain culture or period in time. You can enjoy Pho both at a normal street corner or in a gorgeous restaurant. It has become so synonymous with Vietnam that if you do not try the Pho here, you have not been to Vietnam.