Ho Chi Minh City, which is commonly known as Saigon, is a blurry mix of motorcycles, inhabitants eating on small pedestrian stools and a vibrant city life, which somehow doesn’t look disjointed but forms an unforgettable cityscape that lingers in mind for a long time. It is said that the best way to explore the city is to have a whiff and taste of its street gastronomy. So, in lieu of this, many operators offer a very singular experience, which is a 2-hour bike ride where tourists get to taste the real cuisine of the city, from starters to desserts.
You can simply book a tour that suits your budget and pick out the timing that accommodates your schedule. It is best to do this tour for dinner as the city truly springs up with the twinkling city lights, and the streets get filled with an epiphany of people. You will also get to choose the non-vegetarian and vegetarian options as well, but the real delicacy of Vietnamese cuisine lies in its assorted meats and fish stews.
Right on schedule, you will be met with a delightful rider who, in most cases, would be a student in a university trying to earn some extra bucks while getting free meals with the customers. A win-win situation for all! These students/riders have impeccable English, and as you hop on the bike, you will be filled with excitement as to what will unfold next. The riders zoom through the city with each location pinned in their memory. With wind brushing over your face, delicious aromas filling your nostrils and your heart swelling with joy by exploring a city unknown, Saigon will capture you in an exhilarating spell.
You will be taken to a roadside vendor selling Vietnamese pancakes as a starter and be seated on a plastic chair with a metal table in front. The riders are more like friends who show you the Vietnamese way to eat the food and will hand you a delicious concoction of herbs and leaves that enhance the taste in multifold. Your time will be filled with countless stories of the experiences of the riders, which will make you wonder about the similarities of human experience across various cultures and countries.
After that, a bowl of crab pho is just the right savoury heat to make the mouth more palatable to the main course. A hearty portion of pho with different assortments to adjust to each individual’s taste is provided generously. After clicking a gazillion photos, it will be time for the main course, which is in a location with lots of hustle and bustle. Seafood delicacies like fish, oysters and calamari would be perfectly cooked, making them melt in the mouth and topped with herbs and spices oozing flavour with every bite. You will be offered an ice-cold refreshment to beat the heat, which pairs like a dream with hot food.
The last stop would be the famous Ho Thi Ky Flower Market, which is brimmed with colourful flavours from the Northern Areas of the country, and their gleeful smells, along with searing meats, combine together to create an aroma that can only be found in Saigon. As you make your way through its winding lanes, where no vehicle is allowed, you will be safely transported to Old Saigon. With lights strung across the way mimicking the lanterns used in the olden days, a sweet treat is a must to end this equally sweet trip. You will be offered a tender coconut ice cream with shaved coconut as a garnish, and it is no secret that you cannot stop at one, as it literally tastes heavenly on the tongue. With the rider dropping you back to your premises with the night getting darker, you will be left awestruck by the amazing hospitality, spirit and enthusiasm of the people of Ho Chi Minh City as they offer you a slice of their city in the comfort of a motorbike.