Ho Chi Minh City's sprawling chinatown has a great deal to offer the culinary sinophile.
Covering portions of districts 5, 6, and 11, Saigon's Chinatown--better known as Cho Lon (Big Market)--is bursting with good things to eat.
The following are 10 Chinese specialties that one should keep an eye out for when visiting the area.
1. Hu tieu ca (fish rice noodles)
Despite its plain appearance, this dish is bursting with flavor.
Slices of boneless, seasoned snakehead fish are cooked and served in a clear, sweet pork bone broth. Shredded and dried cabbage stir-fried in achiote oil or turmeric is sometimes served on the side.
Don't forget to add fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime juice and chili to the bowl, before enjoying it.
2. Hu tieu sa te (satay rice noodles)
This unique dish is believed to have been introduced by migrants from Teochew, China and is identified by its thick, buttery peanut broth seasoned with 20 spices. Diners can eat it with their choice of beef and beef balls, fresh strips of cucumber, steamed bean sprouts, slices of sour starfruit, basil, and long coriander
3. Hu tieu ho (‘glue’ rice noodles)
The dish is sometimes called hu tieu Trieu Chau (Teochew rice noodles). Many believe that it got the name hu tieu ho (literally "glue rice noodles") because Teochew cooks added tapioca flour to the broth to make it as thick as glue. That's no longer done, however.
The dish is still notable for its flat, square rice noodles eaten with pig offal stir-fried with pickled vegetables.
4. Sui cao (dumplings)
Usually mistaken for hoanh thanh (wontonS), sui cao are longer and more thoroughly stuffed with a mix of minced and seasoned shrimp, pork and vegetables. They can be cooked and eaten with soup (with or without noodles), steamed, or deep-fried.
Ha Ton Quyen street in District 11 boasts more than 10 sui cao eateries.
5. Chao ca nguoi Hoa (Chinese rice porridge)
This bowl of rice porridge has two distinct parts: the “mountain” – rice that floats near the surface of the broth, and “sea” – the broth that lies beneath. The dish is eaten with pig innards and fish eggs.
It's usually served with a side of sha cha, or sa te in Vietnamese: a spicy and savory condiment made with soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chili, brill fish, and dried shrimp.
6. Chao Tieu (Teochew rice porridge)
Rice porridge loaded with pickled vegetables, pig offal, pig foot, pork, pig blood pudding and tofu. All the accompaniments are stewed with herbs for days.
7. Mi vit tiem (egg noodles with braised duck)
Mi (yellow egg noodles) served in an herbal broth and topped with a quarter of a roast.
Many people who have eaten the dish in China claim that it's done differently in Vietnam. The broth here is said to be sweeter and less oily.
8. Xoi cade (sticky rice topped with egg custard)
The thick custard is cooked from egg, sugar, coconut milk and durian. Besides the main topping, the glutinous rice is also served with shredded coconut and ground peanuts.
9. Banh mi pha lau (bread with pig innards)
Unlike Vietnamese pha lau – pig or cow offal cooked with coconut milk – Teochew-style pha lau contains chicken, deep-fried tofu, eggs and pig innards which are also cooked in a blend of coconut juice and spices.
The sandwiches are often stuffed with green onions, cucumbers and chilies.
10. Che tra hot ga (egg tea dessert)
This famous Cholon dessert is believed to be good for your lungs, skin and voice.
The egg absorbs a light fragrance after being stewed in the sweet tea. Lotus seeds add a nice dimension to the dish.
Like us on Facebook and scroll down to share your comment