TRAN KHAC CHAN STREET
A chaotic jumble of motorbikes, cars, pedestrians, food vendors, and diners on the sidewalks devouring their dinners, Tran Khac Chan Street is a throbbing street food mecca. In the space of a couple hundred metres there are close to 50 food outlets, all vying for space and attention on this busy little street. Hemmed in at one end by the Thi Nghe Channel and at the other by the tree-lined Tran Quang Khai Street, this is a place to really let your ‘foodie instincts’ guide you: follow the smells, the smoke, the neon signage and, most importantly, local people, towards anything edible that takes your fancy. I think of this street as an open ‘wardrobe’ of food in which I’m free to try anything on.
Most of the action is at the Thi Nghe Channel end of the street. A good place to start is at the popularBanh Canh Cua 87 which, predictably, serves bánh canh cua at number 87 Tran Khac Chan. This gooey, slimy, crab-based concoction, uses thick and doughy noodles which are famously slippery: getting them to stay on your chopsticks from bowl to mouth is a challenge. There are a couple of enticing ‘grilled meat trolleys’ plying this street: the smell of barbecued chicken is difficult to pass up. Saigon nights can be hot and humid; cool off with a glass of freshly squeezed pomelo juice (nước ép bưởi) at 114 Tran Khac Chan. At the corner of Tran Khac Chan and Tran Khanh Du is Banh Xeo 79 where the cook, who claims to be shy, strikes eccentric poses in front of the camera.