HCMC Dining Guide

Saturday, April 23, 2011

$3 of more bliss

Before I begin, I'd like to draw your attention to a couple new features of the blog. You've probably noticed the ugly gray line across the screen. I've added a couple of separate pages, and there seems to be no way to incorporate them in an eye-pleasing way. The "HCMC Dining Guide" lists some of my favorite restaurants, (I haven't finished the page yet, please bear with my laziness) so if you get the chance to visit Saigon, take a look at it beforehand. I'm way more authoritative than Lonely Planet... The second page, simply called "Travel", includes links to posts about my trips to other parts of Southeast Asia. Some of you may be interested solely in travel stories, so there you go. Now, on to the blogging!
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about two of my favorite local places to get delicious Vietnamese food, for a grand total of $3. (http://mike-alongthemekong.blogspot.com/2011/04/3-of-bliss.html) This post could be considered part two of that subject, although it involves a bit more of an international flavor. On Nguyễn Thượng Hĩền, a cramped, bustling, and noisy street two blocks from my house, sit Kebab Saigon and Sidewalk Cafe, nearly next door to each other.
The kebabs come in a quarter-circle shaped piece of pita bread, stuffed with chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and tzatziki sauce. The sauce is the key to any kebab, and at Kebab Saigon it is extremely flavorful. This isn't the biggest meal in the world, but it's surprisingly filling, and the chilled vegetables keep it cool enough to eat during the stifling days of the dry season. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the price: 23,000 đong. That's just over a dollar.


A few feet to the right of Kebab Saigon sits Sidewalk, which is nothing more than a pushcart with a blender on top, nestled into a tiny space set off the street. Despite its compact size, Sidewalk serves up rich, hearty smoothies with huge flavor, and they don't skimp on serving sizes either. The choices range from fruit options such as mango, banana, strawberry, and blueberry, on to decadently sweet varieties like chocolate and chocolate chip. You can even have chocolate drizzled onto the fruit smoothies, along with a dash of whipped cream. Such amazing beverages would probably cost at least $5 in the U.S., but here they cost a measly 22,000 đong.


Banana smoothie with cream and chocolate.
So, all told a kebab and a smoothie sets you back just 45,000, which is less than $2.50, so the title of this post isn't even completely accurate. Such a combination is also more than enough to fill up even someone with a very healthy appetite, like me. Jealous yet?


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