Destination: Saigon

This week, The Food Section travels to Vietnam for the fourth edition of Moveable Feast. Earlier installments of this ongoing feature have taken this site to Montreal, Canada, Florence, Italy, and Washington, DC, for a peak into local food culture beyond New York City.

Guest editing this virtual vacation is "Pieman," a.k.a. British freelance hack, copywriter, and blogger Graham Holliday, who has lived in Vietnam for the past eight years. He used to scrub the posh plates of the Euro-glitterati in Monte Carlo for a living, but now he prefers the other side of the kitchen. He writes about travel, food, conservation, and wildlife. You can find his published writings in the pages of TIME, Guardian, Sunday Herald, South China Morning Post, Destinasian, CNN Traveller, and FORTUNE.

At his weblog, Noodlepie, Pieman stalks the streets of Saigon for all the "scoff and swill" he can find. "Noodlepie is a hobby in words and pictures," he says. "But, I hope it's useful to both visitors, and residents, just as a no-nonsense nosher's guide. It works as a kind of 'living archive' of what to eat and where to eat it. Over time I hope it will become a pretty big resource."

Sticking Pins in Saigon
For this Moveable Feast, Pieman gives you "Sticking Pins in Saigon." "Southeast Asia is the streetfood center of the world, nowhere more so than Saigon," he explains of the city known as Ho Chi Minh City since 1975, but still called Saigon locally. "Stick a pin in any Vietnam city map and I guarantee you’ll find something interesting to eat," he says. To prove the point, he stuck five pins in a Saigon street map (see below) and numbered them for Moveable Feast. For the next five days, follow Pieman as his sidekick and digital dining companion as he tests his pin-sticking theory of gastronomical discovery.



Thanks for sharing your wonderful Vietnamese food tour. My wife and I always enjoyed what we thought were authentic. Vietnamese restaurants in New York until we got to taste the real thing in Vietnam about a year and a half ago. Now that we're back home, we long for it. It's ironic that a city that prides itself on its ethnic diversity and "foodie" culture has hardly anything to offer in the way of Vietnamese delights.

Fortunately for us, our daughter lives on the south side of Philadelphia, which has a thriving Vietnamese community with real sandwich shops, real pho redolent of anise and meat, and sprawling supermarkets with plenty of authentic ingredients so we can make our own summer rolls or banh mee xao at home.


NB - This comment & reply was also sent to Noodlepie in the pho section - 3 - Pho Cao Van

Richnhil - thanks for dropping by. It's funny how Vietnamese food doesn't travel. I know a Vietnamese restauranteur in Europe who says she can't cook the Vietnamese way, 'cos no-one would buy it. Customers *think* they know what Vitenamese/Chinese food is, but really they're just getting a bastardised version that isn't really anything. Kinda scary.

However, in the Midlands of Britain a similar thing happened with Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants started by the large immigrant population there. The cuisine was never 'what it was back home' but it has now evolved into something new and quite different. The cultural mix of Brits, first and second generation immigrants and experimentation has really benefitted the cooking there. I don't know why that isn't the case with Vietnamese/Chinese dishes? maybe it is... it's been a while since I tried any of Oriental food outside the Orient...

One last point even here in Vietnam some of the ingredients are very localised and cannot be found anywhere else in the country. Let alone on the streets of Manhattan. dell latitude 131l battery ,


the most convenient and cheap replacement battery online shop in uk. We specialize in laptop batteries,laptop AC adapters. All our products are brand new, with the excellent service from our customer service team.


The comments to this entry are closed.