At night in Hoi An, the tide rises and the river extends itself up the streets. Some of the buildings in town are used to having their whole first floor completely filled with water during the wet season!

B and I head to the other side of the river in search of a snack that makes no sense to me: banh dap, a sticky rice cake stuck between two crunchy rice cakes, served with a shellfish dipping sauce. “How the hell does that work?” I would think every time B reminded me of this snack we had to add to the long list of mad shit we needed to eat in Vietnam. “Is it like a sandwich?”

“No it is not like a sandwich at all, good sir” I think to myself as I snap the above photograph. Banh dap is a big sticky glob of rice batter, squashed between two thin, toasted rice cakes. It’s tasty as fuck and the dipping sauce rules too. It’s hardly big enough to be our lunch though, maybe we should go back to that amazing banh mi spot we had those life changing sandwiches at yesterday. Yes let’s do that!

OK LOOK AT THAT! Amazing right?! Now look at the pic of the banh mi we had yesterday – this one is bigger and better! You can check out what Bianca had to say about it here. She breaks down all the ingredients we think were stuffed into the baguette: Processed pork, roast pork belly, fried egg, pate, onion, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, mint, coriander, soy sauce and 3 kinds of home made sauce.

We took a video of the awesome sandwich being constructed which I’ll put up soon, it’s so awesome to watch! In the meantime hopefully these photos will satisfy our banh mi lust (yes that is a thing now).

Since heading back to the banh mi stand ended up being so goddamn awesome we decided to pay another visit to the lady who sold us that killer bowl of cao lầu. She was happy to see us again!

The day before we ate our bowl of soup while the vendor next to us bugged us to buy banh xeo from her stand. We bought one of her little fried pancakes today and I’m glad we did!

Banh Xeo is different here to what it was like in Ho Chi Minh City. Here the pancake is much smaller and you roll it in rice paper before you dip it in sauce! It is as crunchy as it is delicious, although I definitely prefer the banh xeo we had in Ho Chi Minh. This one is a great little taste to have before a big bowl of yesterday’s great memories is plopped in front of us.

Is it as good as it was the day before? Of course, maybe even better! Will I be able to have another bowl of these beautiful noodles again before I kick the bucket? I hope so!

Thanks for the good vibes, Hoi An. Thanks for the fresh beer. Thanks for the cheap suits and shirts. Thanks for letting me laugh at the young locals desperately forcing flyers for the one nightclub in town into my hands every day. Thanks for wetting my shoes during high tide. Thanks for that fucking sandwich! And for the two fucking sandwiches I had after that! Thanks for those noodles too, can you please send us a few bottles of your magic water so we can make them here? Thanks.


A week into our trip we fly into the pretty city of Hoi An. The brightly painted, old style architecture and small streets made it feel like a Vietnam themed Disney park. We marveled at the town’s beauty for a few hours and soon enough our tummies were rumbling again. It was time to eat one of the main reasons we came to Vietnam.

I have obsessed over this youtube video since the day I saw it. I have eaten banh mi’s on the reg for years and easily rattle off my favourite spots to eat them in Sydney but when I saw that video I lost it. I had never seen a banh mi that looked anywhere near that delicious! I had to have it, and on this glorious day Bianca and I got to have it!

The directions on this blog post lead us to the entrance of Hoi An’s market. We order the ‘Banh Mi Deluxe’, a crunchy, spicy, porky affair – complete with a fried egg on top! It is AMAZING, beyond anything any rival banh mi has ever dared to offer me in my life so far.

Merciful heavens this sandwich was perfect. We had to fight all urges to have another (we had one the next day instead!) because in the market around us we could see and smell a crazy dish that you can only get in Hoi An.

Cao lầu is a bowl of noodles made with water gathered from a well just outside of town. The noodles are thick, brown and can be seen drying in the sun all over the market.

They serve the noodles with roast pork, pork cracklings, greens and an amazing sweet and spicy soup. Holy balls does this dish taste good. Of all the dishes we ate in Vietnam that I wish I could recreate at home, this one is at the very top. The soup is so sweet and bold and the noodles are perfect for slurping. The chili paste we’re given to mix in to the noodles is awesome and fresh too. Of course we had to come back here for lunch again before we left!

That night we had dinner with our pals Sunshine and Andee who were visiting from Melbourne. They took us to Morning Glory, a restaurant they’d eaten at least once every day for the whole week they’d been in Hoi An!

After staying in ridiculously big resorts in Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang, it was nice to rest our heads in one of the sweet little villas at the Southern Hoi An Hotel while we were in Hoi An.


We begin our last day in Ho Chi Minh City with a fantastic bowl of pho tai from Pho Hoa (260C Pasteur Street, Ho Chi Minh City).

I have a pretty important rule when it comes to pho: if it’s really good, you have to show that pho some goddamn respect and finish the whole thing, no matter how full you are. It’s a rule that keeps me in size 34 jeans each year. 

The pho tai at Pho Hoa is a great way to start the day. The broth is a little sweet, not salty, and they are generous with the slices of raw beef. I showed the bowl of pho some respect and smashed it.

Phull of pho, we walk back to our hotel and pass a cage full of puppies.

As I pat them I hope they are puppies with a future as pets, not as main course somewhere that evening. We haven’t seen dogs on the menu yet and I hope it stays that way!

Dogs don’t feature on the menu at Quan An Ngon (what a segue!) but it features pretty much every other popular Vietnamese street food, cooked by street eat chefs who line the walls of this massive restaurant. It’s an easy way to eat as many specialties as possible without venturing through the city looking for every specific food cart. It’s also a good way to kill a few hours before our flight in the afternoon, so Bianca and I begin a mini degustation with matched drinks!

First up: bbq’d cuttlefish! With beer!

Next were these snails with pork and lemongrass (Ốc nhồi lá gừng). The snails were diced, combined with minced pork and glass noodles, stuffed back into the shell with the lemongrass stem and steamed. You pull on the lemongrass and the little snaily parcel pops out! These were enjoyed with beer.

I don’t remember the name of this porky dumpling thing but I do remember that we ate it with some beer on the side.

Bò Nướng Lá Lốt – beef wrapped in betel leaves and grilled. You wrap these meaty little parcels in the rice paper with some noodles and greens rolled in there too. Also you eat them while drinking beer.

Pigs ear spring roll! I think we mixed it up at this point and had a soda and fresh lime.

Finally we knocked it up a notch with this bad boy:

Filet mignon with fried egg, french fries and baguette with dipping sauce!

Since I was with none other than THE SANDWICHFACE, she quickly started stuffing these ingredients in the baguette and boom! Cholesterol roll!

We crammed the french inspired heart attack down into our already full stomachs and bid farewell to Ho Chi Minh City, grateful for it’s accommodation for the last 4 days. 

4 days was not enough time to scrape the top of the manic barrel that is Ho Chi Minh City. I can’t stress enough how big the city felt. Bigger than LA, New York, Tokyo. Weird right? And it was getting bigger – every street was in a constant state of construction, day and night. People didn’t seem to sleep! Maybe it was the iced coffee they sell on every corner keeping them up. Make sure you drink a gallon of that brown gold too, on ice with condensed milk. The vendors pour it from empty pepsi bottles. The dodgier the coffee looks the better it is, and we wouldn’t see the proper roadside stuff anywhere besides Ho Chi Minh City! Drink as much as you can!


On our second morning in Ho Chi Minh we headed straight to the rooftop of The Rex Hotel for cocktails. I have been surprising myself with how early we’ve started drinking each day, and by surprising I mean congratulating.

The Rex Hotel is real nice. At night they light the place up something crazy. This spot was important for American soldiers during the war but that has nothing to do with B and I eating mad shit so we’ll move on to lunch.

We hit up Ben Thanh Market for a bowl of grilled everything on noodles. It’s tasty and provides a good distraction from the chaos surrounding us in the markets as shop owners repeat the 10 words of English they know over and over at potential customers.

So lunch was good but you know what’s even better? Second lunch, this time from a street vendor hawking banh mi’s. Their carts are easily identifiable from the image of the laughing cow cheese logo stuck to the front.

We get a banh mi deluxe – a fried egg, some cured meats, herbs, vegies and some spicy as fuck bits of chili, stuffed into a baguette and wrapped in newspaper. 

A few hours pass and we don’t eat anything but I’m sure we do some cool shit, I can’t remember. What I can remember is maybe the best meal we’ve had so far at Quan 94.

Confusingly, there are two Quan 94s. The original one was at 94 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, then they moved to 84 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, keeping the Quan 94 name. But then some shady impostors moved in at 94 and opened a restaurant called Quan 94 serving exactly the same shit! So when you go hunting for this place, and you definitely should, make sure you go to number 84 Dinh Tien Hoang Street. You’ll be greeted by the sad stares of your future dinner:

Quan 94 serves a lot of stuff, but you really only wanna come here for the crab. And they serve those crabs up in a lot of ways. The best way they do them is cua lot – deep fried. 

Deep fried soft shelled crabs are the new KFC: Kentucky Fried Crab!! If the banh mi photo above didn’t fulfil your ‘Levins stuffing food in his mouth’ quota, maybe this will:

We also ordered some mien xao cua – crab with vermicelli noodle – which was great with fish sauce:

And now my awful attempt at remembering Vietnamese almost got us into trouble. I heard the crab spring rolls here were top notch so I tried to order them from the text only menu and we ended up with a bowl of crab soup:

It looked daunting but tasted pretty great, the broth was real peppery with nice big chunks of fresh crab. 

After we tried to explain to the waiter what we wanted, he grabbed an English menu from a nearby table of non-English speakers. Where was this menu when we needed it!

Finally, we ordered cha gio cua – spring rolls with crab.

It was a crunchy way to end our meal, but sadly it wasn’t the way I ended my night. I foolishly started the day by not thinking and smashing a huge glass of Ho Chi Minh City tap water. This later came back to haunt me and I had the pleasure of seeing our meal at Quan 94 again as I threw up in our hotel bathroom.

Until next time!


We woke up to this view of the river every morning from our hotel, Renaissance Riverside. It’s a nice hotel but the city is much nicer. Why not start the day off with a nice bowl of pho from this babe:

There are a tonne of great restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City but the best food is just a couple of bucks from the street vendors all over town. This pho was pretty serious business, with a smattering of beef tendon, lotus root and crunchy pork crackling. It cost us 10,000VND, which works out at just over fifty cents.

With breakfast out of the way we started our ascent to the north of District 1, where we would find our second breakfast for the day…

I eat a lot of Vietnamese food in Sydney and after seeing an episode of No Reservations, where Anthony Bourdain and his old boss chomp their way through Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An, I knew I had to come here. Sometimes I feel like No Reservations can be a little wanky (I hate it when Bourdain focuses on the spiritual side of a city he’s visiting and forces the viewers to ten straight minutes of him sitting in a temple NOT EATING ANYTHING, complete with awful free copyright production music playing in the background – panpipes and harps!) but this episode was free from wank and instead full of incredible food that I absolutely had to eat. And now that we were in the same country as this food, we had no excuse but to find all the dope spots Bourdain and his old French mate ate at.

Our first dish: Banh Xeo, at 46A Dinh Cong Trang

Banh Xeo is a Vietnamese pancake filled with prawns, pork and beansprouts, fried on one side and folded in half. It’s served with a plate full of different herbs and a dipping sauce.

You tear off a bit of the pancake, wrap in herbs and dip it in the sauce, just like B is doing below:

The place also dished some boss spring rolls that were crispy on the outside and dense with pork and spice on the inside. Real good.

We’d not even wiped the oil from our lips and it was time for our next breakfast, our third for the day. Maybe we should call this one lunch, even though it was still in the AM when we ate it. 

After scaling one end of Hoang Sa to the other, walking along the brown river and stopping for morning beers (the best kind of beers!) along the way, we finally found who we were looking for: The Lunch Lady.

The Lunch Lady is a street vendor who simmers a wild new pot of soup every day, spooning it into the bowls of lucky bowl holders who rock up from 11am till when she runs out of her holy elixer. Gastronomy Blog has done a very thorough post that lists what kind of soup she cooks each day, as well as the best map of how to find her.

We were psyched to be here on a Friday because Fridays are when The Lunch Lady makes Bun Bo Hue, the beefiest soup there is! And holy moly would you look at this motherfucker:


Words can’t do this bowl of soup justice. It had it all. Slices of beef, pork sausage, pig’s blood, thick noodles, herbs and oh man, that spicy, beefy broth. 

B was so in love with her soup she demanded I take her picture with it:

But I decided to one-up her and had my picture taken with The Lunch Lady herself:

What a babe! Oh and The Lunch Lady is in this photo too.

Friends and family of The Lunch Lady run the stalls that surround her soup stand, selling rice paper rolls, drinks and chế, a sweet dessert that comes in a Pikachu bag!

On the long, hot walk back to our hotel we were deep in thought. Would our life be the same after eating The Lunch Lady’s delicious soup? Is ‘Lady’ The Lunch Lady’s maiden name, or did she take it on after marriage? Would various Pokemon adorn the rest of our beverages in Vietnam? And most importantly, what would we have for dinner?

Cha Ca La Vong is a restaurant that serves just one dish: Hanoi style fried catfish with tumeric and dill. Even though we were headed to Hanoi in just over a week, we’d heard that this Ho Chi Minh City restaurant does the dish better than anywhere else in Vietnam. And it was pretty damn good!

After our fourth and (unfortunately) final meal of the day, we lay in bed with our hands clutching our engorged tummies, content with the food we’d eaten and making an oath to each other not to blog about any other activity we partake in while we stay in this beautiful city.


We landed in Ho Chi Minh City pretty late and even though Singapore Airlines had ensured our bellies were full of slightly above average plane food, we needed to go out and hunt. Eating mad shit was the reason for our Vietnam trip, after all.

After a few blocks of walking we came across this bro perched on a plastic stool surrounded by exactly what we were hunting for: MAD SHIT. He was circled by an array of cured meats, herbs and vegetables; the makings of an amazing banh mi. And hoo boy was it amazing.

The baguette alone was perfection. They use rice flour when making bread in Vietnam, and after breaking through the awesome crack of the crust, it gave way to a soft, airy middle. 

It was a good way to end our night / start our holiday. 


Earlier in the year I had my friend Mel round for tacos. Ever the good guest (probably the best really), Mel came bearing gifts; a chef’s blowtorch, a bag of biltong and a can of pork floss. I’ve used the blowtorch a couple of times and we smashed the biltong in less than a week but I only got around to opening the pork floss yesterday.

Trying to fight my Sunday hangover, I found this dope pork floss pancake recipe on Chowtimes and was lucky enough to have all the ingredients in the kitchen. It tasted real good with fish sauce & lime. Pork floss is totally bad ass too, what else should I cook with it?


I just made this for lunch (aka late brunch). I wanted to submit it to This Is Why You’re Fat but the site is down! Whyyyyyyy?


Eggs, bacon, avocado, fried tomato and Louisiana red chilli hot sauce on French sourdough. Made by Levins.

This sandwich was made on two frog in the holes. Levins made them like this:  

  1. cut a circle out of each slice of bread with a water glass
  2. heat up a fry pan with a little butter
  3. put the bread in the pan an crack an egg in each hole
  4. let them cook then flip
  5. they’re ready when both sides are brown!

Levins fried the little holes of bread too- buttering both sides first. YUM they were super moist and buttery, almost like biscuits. Really good with the hot sauce.

I got Levins the Louisiana hot sauce from the USA foods website. They sell heaps of mad American foods that are hard to find here and postage is pretty reasonable.


10 dudes came round for dinner the other night and received the works: cheeseburgers with bacon, pickles, red onion and rocket on a charred bun. I tried to cook em pretty rare too.

After smashing 2 burgers each and a handful of hand cut fries, I still had the deep fryer going and a bunch of leftover pickles. I make my own dill pickles using cucumber grown by B’s Dad and they’re super tasty. I’d read about deep frying pickles over at Meatwave and decided to give em a try. We didn’t have any cornmeal in the house so I used masa. Different but good.

They came up terrific, the batter of masa and flour puffed up and went nice and crispy while the pickles stayed juicy. The taste was off the hook. Deep fried pickles would be the ultimate bar snack! Serve them with some toothpicks and some good beer. Mmmmm.


Bianca started this great Sandwich blog where she takes a photo of all the sandwiches she eats. Since I make her an average of two sandwiches a week, there’s a few good rolls I made on the blog.

So far none have come close to this next level sandwich I made for us to eat today:


Roast pork belly, sweet pickled cucumber, pickled bamboo shoot, red cabbage, rocket, coriander and mayonnaise on long white roll. Made by Levins.