We’re starting 2015 on a high note. We thought we’d take advantage of the cool evening weather (hovering somewhere in the ’70’s) & take a motorbike tour around Saigon. Several friends had told us how much fun it was and the Foodie tour by XO Tours is right up our alley. Umm, hello, local food and beer…Sign me up!!!
So, on a Friday night, we met our guides, hopped on the back of their bikes and away we went. Now, I’m going to be honest. I was pretty sure I was going to hate it. I’ve never ridden on a motorbike and certainly not in the craziness that is this city! Sometimes, I get nervous just being in the car & I’m not even driving! The first time we did a left hand turn into oncoming traffic and survived, I said a little “hooray” in my head. It took a few minutes to relax but then it was really fun. It’s such a unique way to see the city that we don’t normally get to. I might even admit that it was a little fun to sit knee to knee in traffic with the Saigonese. Bailey even rode like a local which means “look Ma, no hands!”.
They took on a “street” food tour to districts that I hadn’t had a chance to really explore yet. Places that you’d never think to go to without someone from the city.
At the above restaurant, we had a chance to try some things I’ve never had before. The “safe” options were the shrimp and grilled okra. You can’t tell from the picture, but the table had these little grills right on top where you grilled your own dinner. Really fun option for a night out. In addition to the shrimp, we also grilled goat & frog. Everyone always says that frog tastes like chicken and it really does. I was surprised at how much I liked it. Bailey liked it without the skin but not with it. I’m not 100% sure I’d order it as a complete meal but if it came as part of a dinner, I know that I like it. We finished it up with a chaser of banana wine that they tried to convince Tony was Monkey wine. He was unsure for a few minutes but he’s game for anything.
In addition to trying some new foods, we got a chance to see the city from a different vantage point. It was really fun to ride around town on a motorbike through some areas that we’ve not really had a chance to explore. We went through about 5 different districts. While I had been to Chinatown, Bailey & Tony hadn’t. We had a chance to ride through a local wet market. If I’d wanted to, I could have picked up some fresh veggies & seafood and never even gotten off the bike, we were that close to the stalls.
On our stop in District 7, we had a chance to really observe the differences between it and the rest of the city. As our leader said, “open roads & stop lights that work”. He went on to say that since the roads are not as crowded, we’d have a chance to drive the bikes. Tony & Bailey got extremely excited about that option. They should have know they were kidding (these guys are serious jokers & teased us all night about various things). The closest we got to driving was posing like we were driving.
We had a great time & I can’t recommend the tour enough. When you come visit, be prepared, because we’re taking you on this tour!