Ho Chi Minh Bike Food Tour Experience in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh or better known as Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam. The beauty of traveling to Ho Chi Minh is there are a number of direct flights from Kuala Lumpur and the city is just minutes away from the airport. Recently, I visited Ho Chi Minh with my traveling partner Mynn Lee to check out some of the places of attractions as well as the local food.
Where to find good local food?
We read quite a lot of positive reviews on local bike food tour or food tour on wheels (motorcycle) and when we searched online there are so many websites offering the same tour packages. It is hard to determine which website offers the best deal for food tours on wheels but we chose this new travel website call Actxplorer.com.
Actxplorer.com is a travel platform that provides unique local travel experiences in South East Asia. On top of that, they work closely with locals and NGOs to offer experiences like workshops, farm stays, food tours and volunteer initiatives.
What is so special about Actxplorer is they want to create more job opportunities to the locals by introducing them to the tourism industry so they can earn more and at the same time they get additional benefits such as knowledge and training. This will bring tourists to have a closer understanding with the locals and also generating income for them.
That is the main reason why we select Actxplorer.com than the other websites. They help and enrich the lives of the locals instead of exploiting them. That is another reason why the travel packages they offer is rather unique compare to other travel websites.
You can actually book it here and hit the PROMO CODE WILSONKNOWSBEST and you will get 10% discount off the tour.
How is the Ho Chi Minh Bike Food Tour Experience?
It is called Food on Wheels and it is priced at US$ 35 per person for five hours of food tour experience. We checked around and they are one of the most affordable food on wheels tour in Ho Chi Minh. Some are charging as much as US$ 70 per person.
The beauty of this Food on Wheels Tour is it is run by a group of University students who can speak fluent English and passionate in sharing their local food secrets to the visitors to Ho Chi Minh. Most of the places we went is their favourite local food stalls and these are the food places they have been eating since they were young. You can’t find these food stalls in websites or blogs and these food stalls are truly hidden gems.
The Food on Wheels tour starts around 5 to 6 pm in the evening (after their classes) and it takes around 5 hours. If you calculate the money you pay for the tour, it is worth every dollar you pay.
How does it work? First of all, you need to do a booking in advance at Actxplorer.com and get the dates and also the location you will be picked up.
They will come with an extra helmet and you just have to sit tight and enjoy the evening with the young men. We had two local guides and their names are Hai and David and we had lots of fun breezing thru the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh.
This pretty cool as you can experience how the local commutes in Ho Chi Minh. Cars are extremely expensive in this part of the world so there are thousands of bikes in the streets of Ho Chi Minh.
Stop 1: Bánh Tráng Trộn
Our first stop was at District 3 and we went to a little shop called Co Thao for a unique local Vietnamese food called Bánh Tráng Trộn. This is not your ordinary Malaysian street food, we have to eat in tiny chairs with a low table. Yes, tiny chairs and that is quite challenging for me but some how I survived.
Bánh Tráng Trộn is probably one of the most underrated Vietnamese food ever. It is the Vietnamese ‘rojak’ with ingredients like of shredded rice paper, pork floss, shredded green mango, quails egg, peanuts, fried shallots, dried shrimp and different kinds of jerky (beef &squid); topped with a mix of sweet, savoury and sour sauces.
What is unique about this is it is served in a plastic bag and you really need to mix all the ingredients properly. You get different types of texture from the softness of the green mango and also the toughness of the jerky and not forgetting the elastic texture of the rice paper and also the crunchy texture of the peanuts.
The combination of flavour and texture is unbelievable but it will be nice if they added more sauce. According to our guides, Bánh Tráng Trộn is a popular food among students and a bag of it costs from VND 15,000 and above (US 0.60) and this is really affordable.
Stop 2: The Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office and Book Street
This is how the Food on Wheels Tour work. There are five stops in total, three stops for food and two stops for places of attractions or interest. For stop two, we visited The Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office.
Ho Chi Minh is quite relaxing to walk around at night as the working crowd goes back home. You can still find local chilling in parks and open areas and that is something you can’t find in Malaysia.
Both Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office is closed at night but the view of the buildings at night is different during the day.
What is interesting is the new Book Street (Nguyen Van Binh) that is located next to Central Post Office. It is a dedicated lane selling Vietnamese and English books with dozens of book stalls and shops. If you want to read something interesting, you should visit the Book Street here.
Stop 3: Pha Lau Bo
Next stop is for another local food. This time we road to Ho Chi Minh’s Chinatown to taste the Pha Lau Bo. This is Vietnamese version of Pig Intestines Soup. Since I am not really a big fan of Pig Intestines Soup, I didn’t really want to comment on this. However, partner in crime Mynn Lee decribes this as definitely an acquired taste, and not for the faint-hearted. Pha Lau Bo is a combination of pig innards that consist of stomach, intestines and lungs in a sweet and sourish fish broth and it is served with baguettes and a sugary kumquat sauce. This is something different you can taste in Ho Chi Minh.
Stop 4: Bun Beo Hue
For Stop 4, we were supposed to visit The Flower Market but since we started the tour late, the market was closed so we went to another food stop.
This is a corner little shop in District 3 and we were there for Bun Beo Hue. This is another unique local food originated from the ancient royal capital of Hue. It is steamed rice cakes topped with dried shrimp and shallots in fish sauce.
First time having this is really hard to describe the taste. The texture is similar to our kuih but the taste is rather exquisite. That’s the purpose of the Ho Chi Minh Bike Food Tour, tasting local food that we unheard of and with unfamiliar food taste. If you are looking forward the usual Banh Mi or Pho Beef Noodles, you need to spread your wings and join a food bike tour like this to know more and taste more of local food.
Stop 5: Che Sweet Soup
When they promised you five stops, they will bring you five stops. We managed to stop at this shop for desserts before they closed. This is a popular dessert shop as you can find many locals stopping here and it is called Xôi Chè. The restaurant is one of a few branches in the city, and not only serves desserts but a whole range of local Vietnamese food as well. Their specialties are ‘Xoi’, meaning sticky rice; and ‘Che’, which means sweet soup, or desserts.
Thanks to Mynn as she listed down all the food here and she had Sam Bo Luong, the Vietnamese version of Lin Chi Kang. This cold drink is a sweet with dried longan, red dates, lotus seed, seaweed and barley. If you look at the ingredients you know this is a kick ass drink.
We also ordered Suong Sa Hot Luu which is tapioca jelly, pomegranate seeds and coconut milk, Thach Dua their type of coconut jelly and juices like kumquat, passion fruit and coconut juice.
What I enjoyed is their version of crème caramel pudding. This version of soft and delicious pudding is the local’s favourite and it can rival many other similar pudding anywhere else in the world.
The Ho Chi Minh Bike Food Tour is definitely an eye opener and a journey of unique local food. Our guides very friendly and they shared some of their stories and experiences during the tour. What is interesting is the interaction between us and the guides and giving them knowledge on our food and travel experiences. What is the most important thing is the Ho Chi Minh Bike Food Tour gives them some side income and also exposure to the outside world thru interactions and conversations with the tourists.
Please take note that the Ho Chi Minh Bike Food Tour do not include drinks (which doesn’t much) and remember to hit the PROMO CODE WILSONKNOWSBEST and you will get 10% discount off the tour when you book it at ActXplorer.com. (Offer limited to the first 50 coupons)
Thera are also other local tours and experiences in Ho Chi Minh at ActXplorer.com and so do check it out. You could have travel to Ho Chi Minh many times but if you never tried the Ho Chi Minh Bike Tour, your trip is still incomplete.
We have lots of memorable and positive experiences and moments in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam and we would love to come back again soon.