'Saigon' on Serious Eats

Spice Hunting: Cinnamon

Most of what we enjoy and call cinnamon in the U.S. is Cinnamomum aromaticum or C. loureiroi, also known as cassia. It's the brash, bold, sweet-and-spicy stuff we love in our cinnamon buns and gingerbread. But it's not the only cinnamon out there. In the past, when people talked about cinnamon, they were talking about C. verum (née C. zeylanicum when Sri Lanka was called Ceylon). It's not the cinnamon Americans are used to—it's much more mellow and subtle—but it's worth expanding our horizons for. More

Snapshots from Vietnam: Saigon Crab Shack

Living in Saigon, I’m constantly adding new Vietnamese words to my vocabulary. It’s fascinating how some terms stick straightaway, while others, regardless of how many times I run into them, refuse to integrate into my lexicon. For instance, I can’t seem to remember the words for menu, even though I ask to see one practically every day. However, just one tasty encounter with soft-shell crabs was all it took for the words cua lot to be forever seared into my mind. I guess the part of my brain that processes new information is directly connected to my taste buds. I visited Quán 94, a restaurant specializing in crabs, a few weeks back with a travel journalist named Peter. I... More

Snapshots from Vietnam: Cháo Lòng, Awfully Good Offal

One of the aspects that I appreciate most about Vietnamese cuisine is that nothing goes to waste. From bones to meat to blood and guts, each and every part of an animal is put to good culinary use. Cháo lòng turns piggy odds and ends that most butchers would toss out with the garbage into hearty and soothing rice porridge. Cháo Lòng is one of the rare offerings in Saigon that is served from morning until evening. The dish is hot, satisfying and easy on the pocket at only 6,000 VND a bowl. Street vendors dishing up cháo lòng can be easily spotted with their giant metal vats and glass display cases filled with piles of offal and stacks... More

Meatless in Saigon

One would imagine that in a society where roughly 85% of the people are practicing Buddhists, vegetarian restaurants could be found on every corner. While this may be true in some parts of Asia, it is certainly not the case in Saigon, where eateries specializing in com chay are few and far between. Exceptions to this general trend appear on the first and fifteenth of each Lunar Calendar month, when all Buddhists shy away from meat. On these particularly auspicious days, nearly all workers’ lunch establishments (com binh dan) serve vegetarian options.... More

Snapshots from Vietnam: Bánh Cóng

Bánh cóng comprises mung beans, shredded taro root, and shrimp with heads, tails, and skin intact. Each ingredient is layered in the deep, metal ladle and dipped in a saffron and scallion batter before meeting the scalding-hot oil. More

Saigon: California Pizza Works

DSC01165 From Flickr member noodlepie. Noodlepie visits California Pizza Works in Saigon. (Yes, that Saigon. The one in Vietnam. You know another?) At CPW, he finds a crazy doughnutty, bagely shaped stuffed pizza called the Ozone: This is the medium size. It's a novel take on a pizza, but I found it mucho heavio. I guess the weight problem is because the pizza-with-the-hole has a higher dough quotient. And on a blisteringly hot Saigon day that's like taking a couple of valium for lunch. California Pizza Works [Noodlepie]... More

A Slice of Saigon

During our "quiet time," last month, we spotted a post from our man in Saigon, Graham Holliday, freelance journalist and proprietor of the street-food-obsessed blog noodlepie. Mr. Holliday reported on the impending opening of a pizzeria called Pizza 'n' Chick, no doubt the Vietnamese equivalent of New York City's own various Kennedy Pizza Chicken joints. Says Holliday: The name intrigues me - Pizza "n" Chick. I wonder if the 'Sale off 15%' offer applies to the chicks or the pizza or both?? Were the chicks trained by the Italian chef too? Do they have a 'Buy one get one free'... More

Good Morning, Vietnam: Pizza In Ho Chi Minh City

A Saigon Pizza Kick: Freelance journalist Graham Holliday has been scoping out the best pizza Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City) has to offer and reporting about it on his blog, Noodlepie. Above are photos from his first round of Vietnamese pizza reportage, delivery from Cappuccino Ristorante. PIZZA IN VIETNAMSaigon-based freelance journalist Graham Holliday has been searching for the best pizza in the city that was once referred to as the Paris of the Orient. Click on the pizzeria names below to visit his blog and get the whole scoop. CAPPUCCINO RISTORANTE Location: 86 Bui Vien Street in District... More

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