Characteristics

Ho Chi Minh City (commonly known as Saigon) is a city has over 300 years old. However, it still grows everyday and is the most dynamic city in Vietnam. Cultural, Saigon in particular and Vietnam in general belong to oriental culture with its own characteristics. If possible you should go to Saigon once and feel its life source, you will probably recognize the wonders.

COFFEE CULTURE

Vietnam is a national leader in coffee exports, so long ago, drinking coffee has become the cultural. Saigon people (Saigoner) often enjoy coffee in the morning at roadside coffee shops after have breakfast. There are two main kinds: "ca phe sua da" (iced milk coffee) and "ca phe da" (iced coffee).

At its simplest, ca phe da is made using medium to coarse ground dark roast Vietnamese-grown coffee with a small metal Vietnamese drip filter (phin coffee). After the hot water is added, the drip filter releases drops of hot coffee slowly into a cup. This finished cup of hot coffee is then quickly poured into a glass full of ice making the finished Vietnamese iced coffee. 

A popular way to drink Vietnamese coffee is ca phe sua da, which is Vietnamese iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk. This is done by filling up with the coffee cup with about 2-3 tablespoons (more if you like your coffee on the sweeter side) of sweetened condensed milk prior to the drip filter process.  (source: wikipedia).

Saigon person familiar with the roadside cafe and that's part of their lives. Besides, in Saigon have another popular way to drink coffee that is "bet coffee".

"Bet coffee" is without tables, chairs and coffee shop. You just go to parks, sitting on the ground and will have a person come to sell coffee for you. Drinking, chatting with friends, and watching motocycles running, perhaps it would be an unforgettable memories for you.

 

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Bet coffee (photo by: Andy Tran)

 

CUISINE

Oriental culture very cared to culinary ,foods is not only delicious, but also beautiful. 

Vietnamese cuisine encompasses the foods and beverages of Vietnam, and features a combination of five fundamental tastes  in the overall meal. Each Vietnamese dish has a distinctive flavor which reflects one or more of these elements. Common ingredients include fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables. Vietnamese recipes use lemongrass, ginger, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander, Saigon cinnamon, bird's eye chili, lime, and Thai basil leaves. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of dairy and oil, complementary textures, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide. (source: wikipedia).

Saigon has long been famous as a street food paradise. Whether you go anywhere, from alleys to main roads you will see counters or small shops selling street food. Stop, enjoy and be sure to ask the price before!

 

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Mixed ricepaper: characteristic of street food

 

VIETNAMESE FOLK RELIGION

Vietnamese folk religion is not an organized religious system, but a set of local worship traditions devoted to the Gods, a term which can be translated as "spirits", "gods" or with the more exhaustive locution "generative powers". These gods can be nature deities, or national, community or kinship tutelary deities or ancestral gods, and the ancestral gods of a specific family. Ancestral gods are often deified heroic persons. Vietnamese mythology preserves narratives telling of the actions of many of the cosmic gods and cultural heroes. (source: wikipedia).

When you come to Vietnam, do not forget go to pagodas. Come, pray, and maybe the magic will come to you!

THE NON-SLEEPING CITY

Ho Chi Minh City besides called Saigon also has another name is The non-sleeping city because as late at night, Saigon more beautiful and striking. 

As of late, cafes, bars and pubs increasingly more crowded. Saigoner's nature are generous and hospitable so they often gathered friends at night to chat and sip a glass of rice wine.

If you have the opportunity to Saigon, try on a pub, drink a sip of rice wine, say hello with those around and then they will talk to you like two longtime friends.