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Can’t believe it has been already half a year since I spent two months in Vietnam. I totally miss the warm weather, the beaches, the chaotic lifestyle and of course the food! So this post is about Vietnamese food and shows a restaurant that is typical in so many ways. I bet that you will come across a very similar one when you travel through the country. I don’t know the name of this particular restaurant and I guess I have never known it. And if I did know the name, by now I would have forgotten how to pronounce it haha. So below are five characteristics of a lot (if not the majority) of restaurants that you will see when visiting Vietnam.

5 Characteristics of The Typical Vietnamese Restaurant in Vietnam

PLASTIC CHAIRS IN RED AND BLUE

First of all there is the plastic chair culture. You can choose from tiny blue and red plastic chairs. They are for kids you might think. But no, they are not. They are for everyone. Sometimes, when you are lucky, you find a restaurant with larger chairs, like this one. I personally don’t mind the little chairs but I have seen lots of guys (especially the taller or bigger ones) sitting on these chairs and they didn’t look so comfy.

PLASTIC AND/OR METAL TABLES

The tables have the same great quality as the plastic chairs. Ok, maybe a bit better than the plastic chairs. But they are just never stable. So try to not bump into the table after you have had some beers. This nicely leads to point number 3…

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LARGE BEER GLASSES WITH ICE CUBES

The glasses can also be filled with coca cola if you don’t like beer :). But mostly you will see a warm Saigon beer poured over a bunch of ice cubes that the waiter has taken from a big bucket with which he walks around regularly to supply everyone with ice cubes. I actually prefer the beer like that. I am not a big beer fan except for the German Weizen beer which I would definitely not like with ice cubes. But the Saigon beer diluted with a bit of water is actually quite refreshing to drink.

WET WIPES INSTEAD OF NAPKINS

Well, this wet wipe is your actual napkin. It is not thought to be just for wiping your hands before you eat. It serves as your napkin throughout the entire meal. And don’t necessarily expect to find toilet paper or tissues in the bathroom. It is always a good idea to bring a few tissues yourself. Don’t forget the hand sanitizer either as there might not be soap either in the bathroom :)

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YUMMY & FRESH VIETNAMESE FOOD

My favourite part! I love Vietnamese food. It is my second favourite cuisine after Japanese food.

Don’t be put off by what the restaurant looks like. The previous four characteristics are absolutely fine and totally normal. In fact if you come across such a place and then also see a lot of local people sitting in there, the odds are great that the food is amazing. My experience was that if you want the same quality and freshness of the food in a fancier interior, you actually have to move up a few levels and go to a very fancy restaurant with prices like 10-15x as much as you’d pay in the normal Vietnamese restaurant. If you just go to a prettier place that caters more to the Western ‘needs’, chances are high that the food is just not as yummy and you still pay at least 5x the ‘normal’ price. So try it out and do as the locals do. Be a traveler, not a tourist :)

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If you are in Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, try out this amazing snail restaurant, called Oc Dao. It’s a lot bigger than the one shown here but of course with the similar characteristics of an ‘authentic’ Vietnamese restaurant and AMAZING food. Below a photo of the restaurant: oc-dao-snail-restaurant-in-hcmc

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Today I met a friend for a veeeery late afternoon tea at Liberty in Oxford Circus. Have you been? Their decoration is so pretty! After our tea session we decided to have a little stroll through Liberty’s Christmas Shop. I know it’s way too early for Xmas (like at least 2 weeks to go!) but since the Christmas Shop was just 3  mins away from the little tea place at Liberty, we just had to have a quick look at it! But no, I didn’t buy anything…this time. Will probably come back in a couple of weeks and get something then :) We then headed to Victoria’s Secret to buy a long Pyjama (perfect for London’s winter) and then had dinner at Burger & Lobster near Oxford Circus. I went for their lobster roll, so yummy! Now it’s time for one more episode of Downton Abbey before I go to sleep. Good night :)

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Liberty’s Christmas Shop

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Dinner at Burger & Lobster

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One of my favourite cocktail bars in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is The Deck Saigon which is located around 15mins by car from the centre of the city. The Deck Saigon serves very good fusion food and has a wide selection of well made cocktails. If you are in Saigon and up for a little chance of scene with a more upscale ambience and chill-out lounge club atmosphere, this is your place to go :)

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The interior or better exterior, as most it set outside, looks very stylish and seeing towels and soap in the bathroom is such a nice chance to the general Vietnamese experience :) So I had to take a photo of it!

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As you can see, the The Deck Saigon is a bit more fancy so feel free to dress up a bit. You will blend perfectly in like that.  Do you see my pretty henna design? That was still from the wedding in Sri Lanka that we attended during our stay in Vietnam :)

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And below it the pretty view from where you are seated to have brunch or dinner. Really loved this place. It’s a little oasis in the middle of the often chaotic vibe in the city.

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the deck saigon - cocktail bar saigon