For breakfast during my stay, I often walked down to the nearby Pho Ahn, which was recommended to me by a local friend. The Pho Bo (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) was among the best I've ever had. The fact that I was the sole non-local in the restaurant served as a great testament to the authenticity of this
Total cost: ~$2.47 USD
In the afternoon, I stepped out of the heat and into Le Fenêtre Soleil, a second floor (first for the non-American readers) café that specialized in Indonesian cuisine. The café had a beautiful walkway with big windows and wrapping around the outermost corner of the café. To drink, I took a pot of refreshing mint tea that came from the kitchen wonderfully presented on a wooden serving tray. And no, that's not whiskey (disappointing, I know), but rather a shot of sweet, locally-made honey.
To go along with the pot of tea, I ordered a snack of Indonesian-style rissoles, which are essentially cheese and vegetable or meat filled crepes that are fried to absolute perfection.
When I discovered Independence Palace was closed during lunchtime hours, I used this as an excuse to take an early lunch (not that I needed one, of course). I stopped by Propaganda, a Vietnamese café that overlooks the park in front of the Palace. After a morning of walking across town on a hot spring day, I chose to have an iced Vietnamese coffee and Fresh spring rolls with omelette, avocado, brown rice & soya sauce.
Propaganda describes their restaurant perfectly as, "A world of good-natured propaganda where slogans are replaced by easy-going dietary advice such as 'Mỗi ngày ta chọn mọt món ăn' ('Every day we chose a new dish')."
The "best" báhn mì in the city from Thahn Mi (a statement I 110% agree with) being enjoyed with a street-side view.
Total cost: $1.48 USD
For this meal, I made my way to Secret Garden Restaurant, which is quite well hidden on the rooftop of a building in the center of District 1. Although the restaurant is quite filled with tourists, the rustic garden ambiance is warm and welcoming, while the food is appropriately delicious. For this meal, I chose to have a fresh vegetable noodle soup.