Netflix: Season 1
Phil Rosenthal visits Saigon to enjoy local Vietnamese dishes including pho, bahn mi, com tam, and bo la lot. Along the way, he also makes new friends as he gets an experience in the lotus mud flats and in teaching a 4th grade class in Vung Tau. See the episode recap of the list of locations, restaurants, and attractions he visited on the show for the best of what to do in Saigon.
1. Pho Bo Phu Gia
Phil's first stop is at Pho Bo Phu Gia, where he tries the definitive Vietnamese dish of pho. Cooked curbside in an extremely hot wok and with stir fried beef, this place serves one of the best bowls of pho in the country.
Tasted: Pho - with lime, chili, green onion, bean sprouts, garlic, & black pepper
2. Thuc Pham Duc Viet
After eating pho, Phil goes across the street to a cart which serves some of the best bahn mi, or Vietnamese sandwiches, in the city. The lady running the cart has worked there her whole life, and now her daughter has taken over
Tasted: Bahn Mi - with pate, cold cuts, pork floss, pickled cucumber, mayo, & cilantro in a baguette
3. Cao Ba Quan
The home of Vayjun, or Vietnamese and Cajun cuisine, Cao Ba Quan was founded by Nikky Tran, who had spent 7 years in Houston. The food she serves is a new take on the traditional Vietnamese cuisine by blending in her own techniques and flavors.
Five Color Beef Salad - with mint, kumquat, pineapple, Thai eggplant, & lemongrass
River Prawn Cajun Boil
4. Vy Da Quan
Phil enjoys dinner at the roadside tables of Vy Da Quan, which is known for its pork ribs. There are street performers who entertain while they eat.
Ca Ba - unicorn leather jacket fish
5. Quan An Co Lien
This small storefront specializes in bo la lot, or grilled beef wrapped in betel leaf. The store is run by Mrs.Lien, who had been there for over 20 years.
Bo La Lot
6. Maison Marou
Named the "best chocolate you've never tasted" by the New York Times, Maison Marou uses Vietnamese cacao to make all forms of chocolate and does everything in-house - from bean to bar. Vietnamese cacao is a must-try for chocolate lovers, and has a more tarty and fruity taste.
7. Hoang Minh
Phil tries out com tam, which means "broken rice" in Vietnamese. The dish got its name from poor families which often got rice which were broken. The dish is served with meat on top, and is now an iconic dish of the country.
Com Tam - with pork chop, pork belly, pork cake, and pork skin topped with an egg
1. Lotus Pond Mud Flats
The lotus is the symbol of Vietnam, and Phil visits a mud flat where the flowers are grown. He tries his hand at pulling the lotus, and also at harvesting the water snails. He then goes fishing for catfish, before enjoying a traditional home-cooked meal with the host family.
2. Tao Dan Park
Between Cach Mang Thang Tam Street and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ho Chi Minh City
Phil visits the "Central Park" of Ho Chi Minh City, which offers 25 acres of lush greenery. He enjoys joining in the bird section, where men often bring their caged birds and hang them up so that they can learn new songs from other birds. While he's there, he also enjoys some food, including coffee and a breakfast sandwich. Vietnam, which is the 2nd largest producer of coffee in the world after Brazil, has coffee which is traditionally served with condensed milk and with a filter called a phin.
Fried Egg Sandwich - with chili and sauce on baguette
Traffic in Ho Chi Mihn City is intense, with everyone on a scooter and driving seemingly with no rules. However, it is also an amazing way to see the place and to experience the city.
4. Vung Tau
A couple hours south of Saigon by boat, Phil goes to explore the city of Vung Tau for the day. He takes the Gioi Cua Ban gondola up to see the sunset and an incredible view of the city. He also visits a school for the day and helps to teach English to a 4th grade class.