Friday, April 20, 2012

Street food buffet at a chic hotel in Saigon!

The first idea to gather all street foods at one place came from "Ngon"restaurant. It was more than 10 years ago! Huge success! I haven't been back there for long and since Ngon moved to their new location!
Now the restaurant looks better from outside, so from the inside the choice of street food should be more diversified, hopefully!

There was some other attempts to create the same concept eateries, but by somehow only Ngon survives till now, together with a mini street food buffet at a chic boutique hotel - Bong Sen on Dong Khoi street!

Here they call "Buffet Gánh", Gánh means those traditional carrying baskets for street hawkers as seen in the photo!  

I've been to this buffet long ago, even long before the hotel was reconstructed. It was on mezzanine at that time but now moved down to the lobby level. I came back there last week!

Even I said mini but the selection of street food would be more than enough to make us full and for you to taste your first Vietnamese street food in nice ambience!

I like those traditional flat baskets (nia) on the ceiling. These baskets is one of utensils used in a kitchen in the country side! (photo below!)

I used to love buffet but this love has gone for long! Too much resistance! Anyway street food buffet at Bong Sen hotel is just in the right size, not too much, so I don't feel that pressure on me! Eat that, don't eat this!

Let's start from these little bánh khọt - a variation of Vietnamese pancake (bánh xèo), served with sweet fish sauce dip!

Then also a tiny cake from Central Vietnam - bánh ít trần made from glutinous rice, filled with mung bean, pork meat ...topped with shrimp floss and green onion stirred with oil!
Again with sweet fish sauce dip!

Mini rice cake with pork floss, green onion...very popular street snack these days!

My small bowl of rice noodles with pork's skin. 
To me it's quite a new combination, but living here, I know rice noodles can go with many things from grilled pork, deep fried spring roll to simple fried tofu with soy sauce!     

Loving veggie, I never miss fresh rolls with fish cake and another popular "gỏi cuốn"!

And here our main course! Small lobster (crayfish) grilled with lemongrass, salt & chili! Very tasty!

And I finally tried roasted quail that I often see on the street but always hesitate to taste it! Yummy!

 Prawn cake (chạo tôm) is delicious, usually wrapped around a sugarcane stick but here a lemongrass!

Little Kitty - daughter of my nephew, she always accompanies us everywhere, whenever we go for street food! It's still early for her to taste, but I'm sure in the next few years, she will be a big fan!

Fried banana is one of the most visible street foods, kid's favorite! Here, in the hotel, just a bite size! Crispy, sweet with banana flavor, tasty!  Now it seems that I slowly move to the dessert part!

Sweet corner with a symbol of a famous sweet tofu!
Bigger pot with tofu, smaller one - syrup with ginger! You can add coconut cream sauce from a white china bowl nearby! I usually don't!

Here you go! My warm sweet tofu in syrup and always with slices of ginger! I love that!

Marble jelly - cold dessert!

Sweet dessert soup is a part of our food culture! We have it for many celebrations! Here is a sweet dessert made from glutinous rice, cooked with coconut cream sauce, white bean!

Let's finish our buffet dinner with papaya! Simple taste, not too sweet, good for health and digestion!

The buffet still has many more to offer : different spring rolls, in fact I do like their spring rolls with cuttlefish! but I forgot to take a photo!
Famous rice noodles bún riêu, Vietnamese pancake and bizarre balut
I didn't try any of them as I didn't feel to like it for  dinner! But they are good!  
They still have a selection of other Vietnamese dishes like fried rice, fried noodle, roasted those familiar shining buffet containers but it seems that everyone who goes there pay more attention to those baskets with street food!
So take your time, visit this street food buffet and to enjoy your stay in Saigon!

Bong Sen Saigon Hotel 
117 - 123 Dong Khoi street, dist. 1, HCMC  
Open hours 
12:00 -14:00     10 USD++ per person 
18:00 - 21:30    17 USD++ per person

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