Saigon – for me the world capital of street business. Cookshops and snack stands at every 50 meters. Basic, fresh, authentic.
The two hours Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Saigon was short, but the contrast couldn’t be bigger. While KL was very western and more relaxed, Saigon gave us the authentic sensation of a booming mega city.
It was like an anthill, and the ants drove scooters. The town is said to have more than 6 million scooters, means one per capita. Germany with its highly regulated street traffic is a retirement home compared to what’s going on here.
And, indeed, Saigon has a very young charisma. Youngsters dominate the street businesses, as most of their life seems to happen 24 hours a day outside on sidewalks and in doorways. I felt this was a place with more belief into future than anywhere in the West.
Nevertheless, that we’ve survived the myriads of scooters, hundreds that gather within 30 seconds at any red traffic light, is close to a miracle. Actually, there is no chance to survive (here I am joking!).
And then all these cook shops, tiny bars and eating places – it is impossible to become hungry here. You are offered foodstuff literally everywhere, everything, evermore. Good news for me as a food junkie – I did my tastings and quick shootings at original locations.
Basically, I have learned two things here: First, the most authentic food and service you will find out on the street, in one of the hundreds sidewalk bistros where you sit on these tiny baby chairs. We also tried established, trendy restaurants in the center, but were not really impressed. Second, hard to get used again to your home Vietnamese restaurant as you will miss the authentic flair and atmosphere.