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Sandra Scott Travels: There Is So Much To See and Do In Today’s Saigon

cooking pancakes

Cooking pancakes

Last week I asked: What is the official name of Saigon?

Ho Chi Minh City.

A room at InterContinental Asiana Residence.
A room at InterContinental Asiana Residence.

Ho Chi Minh City has been the official name since the fall of Saigon in 1975 but both are in use.

Once again being a loyal customer paid off.

We had a free night with InterContinental Hotels due to using their credit card and being a member of their IHG Rewards Club so we booked a room at the InterContinental Asiana Residence.

We didn’t realize just how lucky we were until we saw our accommodation.

We had two huge rooms.

One was a combination kitchen, dining room, and living room with surround-sound TV.

cooking pancakes
Cooking pancakes

The bedroom was just as big with a huge bathroom with a tub and shower.

I was really excited to see the washer/dryer combination.

The washer worked great but I could not – even after reading the instructions – get it to dry the clothes.

The dry cycle included a rinse cycle which was counterproductive so after a few tries I gave up on the drying part.

Maybe that is why there was a drying rack.

The rooms had a large balcony and I noticed other people also had drying racks on their balcony.

pancakes ready to eat
Pancakes ready to eat

On the first level of the building there were several stores and eateries.

We bought groceries at the mini mart and enjoyed eating some meals in our room.

Breakfast was included and it was excellent.

The InterContinental Hotel is connected to the Residence so we had easy access to all their services, too.

We ate lunch at their Market 39 where they had a pancake station.

Vietnamese pancakes are tasty and fun to eat.

Enjoying some street food
Enjoying some street food

We asked Chef Josh, the executive chef, to share the recipe and explain how they were made.

He was happy to do so.

The pancakes are more like an egg crepe with prawns and other goodies in it.

To eat just pull off a hunk, wrap it in lettuce, add some other greens and dip in pickled carrots.

Yummy!

We have been to Saigon a couple of times.

The most frequent side trip includes the famed Chu Chi Tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the “American War” as it is called in Vietnam, and the colorful Cao Dai Temple.

We considered visiting again this year but didn’t have time so we just walked to a nearby church and post office.

My all-time favorite soup is Vietnamese pho.

A display at the War Remnant Museum
A display at the War Remnant Museum

The Vietnamese eat it several times a day.

There are many street stalls that sell it and other food.

There is always something interesting to see on a walkabout in Saigon.

We stopped to listen to a school group marching and playing the drums.

We did visit the War Remnant Museum which has some displays and videos that are hard to deal with.

Especially difficult was the section showing birth defects caused by Agent Orange.

It is hard to put a pretty face on war.

I have never forgotten what our guide at the Chu Chi Tunnels told us years ago.

He was born in the tunnels.

When John asked about the “American” War and his perception of Americans, he replied, “That was then, this is now, let’s go forward.”

From my perspective it was good advice and words to live by.

More than half of the population was born after the war and the American War was preceded by 100 years of French colonialism and before the French 1000 years of Chinese domination.

Now, they govern themselves.

Trivia Tease™:  Where is one of the best kite surfing places in Vietnam?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!