This morning we decided to not do the hotel breakfast and go hit the streets instead.
So we got ourselves some pho. Very tasty. After this, we did go back to the hotel and grab a little more (the hotel breakfast was already paid for as part of the tour package, so we just grabbed some fruit and a piece or two of bread).
At the Cu Chi Tunnels, we got a snack of potatos with some kind of sweet/salty dipping stuff. This was actually pretty tasty.
Random booze with both snake and scorpion! (No, we didn't have any of this one.)
Soup with thick noodles, pork, carrots and cauliflower.
Battered and fried shrimp. The batter had a texture that was more similar to corndogs than tempura, but it wasn't made with corn.
Noodles with pork and veggies.
Make-your-own-sandwich: little meat chunks and veggies.
More markets back in HCMC:
Random market shot.
After walking around, it was time for another ice cream break.
Our ice creams.
More street markets:
Lots of rice varieties!
Smallest liquor store I've ever seen, but with a pretty extensive selection.
So up to this point, most of the restaurants that we had been eating at had been fairly clean, tourist-friendly places. A lot of these places are the types of places that only rich Vietnamese go to, or perhaps only for very special occasions. We finally got it through to our guide that we were also interested in scoping out some places that are frequented by everyday Vietnamese as well. So he took us to some of his old stomping grounds from his college days; we were the first tourists that he ever took to these places.
Cold sour pork patties.
Left: pork wrapped in long noodles (like the "chang/ fen~" that you find in dim sum places), and right: unknown meat products and taro cakes.
Vermicelli with grilled pork and fried shrimp roll.
Condiments for the broth shown below. Herbs and bean sprouts on the left, and some sort of fried item that was very similar to the Chinese "yio/ tiao/" (a.k.a. Chinese Donut).
This was a very heavy, meaty broth. It includes thick noodles, meat, blood, and crab.
Unknown vegetable drink... possibly watercress juice.
Funky agar-based dessert, somewhat like very firm jello in texture.
Then we went to what is supposed to be some of the best ice cream in HCMC. Tiny hole-in-the-wall joint down a dark alley. We got quite a few stares as I don't think they get very many tourists.
Longan ice cream.
We thought this was very funny. The like to eat fried fish balls (little spheres of ground up fish paste) along with their ice cream! When in Rome...
We got a couple more dessert items, but just took them back to the hotel since at this point we were already pretty darned stuffed and needed a breather before going back on the offensive.
Bean + green glutinous rice + coconut milk and ice.
Glutinous rice with durian, coconut and coconut milk. This was actually really tasty.