As Vietnam is evolving into the “go-to” destination of Southeast Asia, tour companies and food groups are bracing for the high increase of tourism.
Total international arrivals in 6 months reached 4,287,885, increase 21% over the same period last year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
Saigon Street Eats, created by expat American, is building her food tour company based on these increasing numbers of tourists.
Our main aim is to demystify certain parts of daily life in Vietnam.
“Most visitors are trapped in the main tourists’ centers of Vietnam because that’s where English is spoken,” said owner Barbara Adam, owner of Saigon Street Eats. “Venturing into local areas can seem quite daunting if you don’t speak Vietnamese.”
Vietnamese food, with influences from France and China, brings in fish sauce, rice and aromatic herbs such as lemongrass into the flavors, making it a culinary surprise for those, who are not used to so many infused seasonings in numerous entrees.
Barbara started her food tour company with husband, Vu, hoping to lure more English-speaking tourists from United States, England and Australia to the area. Both tours allow visitors to peek into the local life and eating alongside with them throughout the walking tours.
The format differs from most food companies. “We are an ‘un-tour’ kind of tour and we want our guests to feel like they’ve been hanging out with friends, who’ve been showing them the best parts of their town,” Adams said.
However Adams warns their tours aren’t for everyone. “They’re for people with a sense of adventure, who are interested in diving into the local culture and eating what the local eat,” said Adams, adding the food is totally fantastic.
Price and Hours
Plan about four to five hours, depending on the tour. The morning tour is estimated to be about five hours while the evening tour runs about four hours. “It all depends how quickly people eat and how much they talk.” Adam said.
The tour company plans to offer additional food tours throughout Ho Chi Minh City. “There’s such an amazing variety of food here, including many regional specialties from around the country,” Adam said.
If you are planning to visit Ho Chi Minh (formerly known as Saigon), visit Saigon Street Eats.