Exactly a week ago, I was at Mekong Delta - a region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River is. For the time that was spent there, I tried my best to keep all city thoughts out of my head and focus on appreciating the simple life. You can view my blog post on Mekong Delta here or see all the wonderful photos I took here.
It was a full day adventure because of the six-hour return journey (three hours there and three hours back). By the time we got back to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) it was late evening and we just wanted to take a shower so badly.
All cleaned up and feeling fresh, we thought we should treat ourselves to a good dinner since it was our last night in HCMC. We have tried authentic Vietnamese fare so we went for French food at this restaurant called La Fourchette at 9 Ngo Duc Ke, recommended by my friend Shaun.
From the outside it looked unassuming and modest, but it served up fantastic food that left us all bursting in the intestines for days after.
There are two levels within and this is how the first floor looked like from the stairway:
While we were deliberating over the menu (everything sounded so good!), we were served bite-sized garlic bread and once our orders were taken, we were fed warm bread with butter and olive oil to get our appetites going.
The girls chose foie gras and parma ham for the appetisers…
…and for our main courses we shared carbonara (the French style of carbonara is not as creamy and thick as the ones we usually have), pork stew and duck leg confit.
The photos didn’t do any justice to how good the food tasted – the carbonara didn’t make us sick from having too much cream, the pork in the stew was SO soft and tender (almost melting in your mouth) and the duck meat was crispy on the outside, fleshy on the inside.
The little potato cubes on the side of the duck leg confit was like French fries in cubes – so yummy!
Apologies for the semi-poor quality of the photos (it has this tinge of yellow) – I didn’t bring my DSLR out and we were too eager to tuck in that we didn’t spend the effort to correct the settings on Meijuan’s camera – oops!
We saw some potentially smashing desserts on the menu but we were too stuffed to spare any more room for some sweets, so we gave up the dessert and asked for the bill. All that cost us about VND 1.2 million which is less than S$100! Plus we didn’t finish all the food ’cause we were simply too full…
Btw, the girls insisted on re-applying eyeliner for me again after I cleaned it off when I took a shower. Can you tell the difference now? (Yes i know one eye’s bigger than the other!)
It was a Monday night so the nightlife scene wouldn’t be very active, but we went to Lush for one drink anyway. There was a sizeable crowd in the club but we sat outside at the bar area where it wasn’t so noisy!
After that we wanted to go to Fuse Club – we saw an event held there on some Vietnamese MTV-like channel and it looked super happening! But the place we were brought to looked quite disappointing and it was closed anyway.
We ended up going back to the hotel next.
We were contemplating to go to Cu Chi Tunnels the next day – which is a recommended tour when visiting HCMC. It’s a half-day thing but we have to check out by 12 noon and by the time we get back there won’t be a room for us to wash up before getting to the airport by 4pm. Nvm, we’ll leave the must-go Cu Chi Tunnels to another time, if there is another time!
We went shopping!
But not without grabbing a Banh Mi Pho before we leave HCMC…
There are many of such Banh Mi Pho stalls along the road and this was the first we came across. The lady was sleeping and we wanted to go off in search of the next one, when the guard (the one having his lunch in the picture above) stood up and asked if we wanted to get one.
Upon our nodding heads, he came over and started preparing one for us – without wearing any gloves!! Ok we tried not to think about it and just enjoyed the classic sandwich wrapped in recycled paper.
Shaun recommended going to eat at Elbow Room which has all-day breakfast and refillable coffee so we shopped around the area (along Pasteur Road). We spent almost two hours in this La Bella shop:
We tried many clothes and there were two pieces I really liked, but the Buy-1-get-the-next-1-at-50%-off promotion did not apply to the ones I liked so I didn’t buy anything. Same case for Sarah. So only Meijuan made a purchase after all the time spent there… oops!
Our last meal at HCMC before returning to Singapore was at Elbow Room -
It was along the same road as La Bella, but quite a distance down and halfway down Sarah suggested taking a cab to save time. But it was a one-way street away from the direction we were going in so that wouldn’t make any sense!!! Something just told me this place will be worth checking out so we didn’t settle for any cafe along the way and just kept going.
I’m glad we persevered.
Opposite The Elbow Room is an all-boys college – can you see some people in blue across the street out the window? Those are some of the students smoking at the back of the school in the stairway!
We ordered three dishes – all from the All-Day Breakfast section:
Macaroni & Cheese
This dish looked so simple and plain but it tasted really good!
For dessert we had this amazing Death by Chocolate:
The chocolate sauce couldn’t stop flowing!!
We were so happy with the food (this photo was taken before the food so we looked a tad unhappy) – it was definitely a damn good way to wrap up our HCMC girlfriend getaway!
The Elbow Room is located at 52 Pasteur Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1 and open every day from 730am to 11pm!
Thank you HCMC for giving us such a wonderful time.. although the traffic was quite a life-threatening experience.
We don’t know when we will be back but we had a great time!
HCMC is only 1.5 hours from Singapore by plane – nearer than Bangkok! Consider it for your next holiday:)
Here’s a brief summary of my Ho Chi Minh City trip (I spent less than S$500!) -
This is just a list of things I did at HCMC, you don’t have to follow what I did but just use this as a reference. Get a map of HCMC and explore it on your own for 2 days, then spend another 2 days taking the day tours out of the city. Actually a homestay at Mekong Delta was something I might have done too!
Return flight by Tiger Airways (www.tigerairways.com)
S$148 per person
(inclusive of taxes and surcharges, not inclusive of baggage charge)
4D3N at Tan My Dinh Hotel (www.tanmydinhhotel.com)
S$110 per person (three-way sharing), booked through Agoda.com
Banh Mi Pho from the roadside
Nha Hang Ngon
Tous Les Jours
The Elbow Room
Places of Interest/Sights to see
Ben Thanh Market
Museum of Ho Chi Minh City
Notre Dame Cathedral
Central Post Office
War Remnants Museum
An Dong Market or Bin Thay Market in Chinatown (only if you have a lot of time and nowhere to go – and please go in the day)
Cu Chi Tunnels
Read the rest of my HCMC stories: