Traveling really opens our senses up into so many things that were previously unknown to us. One thing that I always want but normally fail to do when I’m traveling is savoring the local cuisines. I have a very sensitive stomach that sometimes even bottled water makes me sick. I guess having a diarrhea and the need to look for proper and clean toilets is something that everyone doesn’t look forward to while wandering around unfamiliar places. So, to save myself from such predicament, I stay away from street food and dining places that don’t look too appealing to me. As long as there’s a decent coffee shop, I’d be glad if there’s Starbucks, I can survive an entire afternoon wandering around without having to deal with an upset stomach.
One night, while traveling around Vietnam, I was thinking of having something Vietnamese for dinner. We went to a famous place in Ho Chi Minh city, it was the restaurant at the roof top of Rex hotel. The place is popular among tourists and locals. Well, this place had a bit of historical factor, maybe that’s why it attracts more tourists attentions. The following texts were taken from the hotel’s site.
A symbol of the past
The Rex is just one of a number of hotels whose past is linked with well-chronicled historical events. However, for over 80 years the RexHotel has stood as Saigon’s best-known landmark.
Originally built as a French garage in the early 20th century, the Rex Hotel was expanded into a 6-floor trading centre in 1959, owned by Mr and Madame Ung Thi, King Bao Dai’s relatives.
It was leased to the AmericanCulturalCenter in 1960, at which time the Abraham Lincoln Library was established on the ground floor. During the Vietnam war the American Information Service made its base at the hotel, which soon became the favorite haunt of U.S. officers and the scene of daily press briefings to foreign correspondents, or “five o’clock follies”, as they were called.
Upon scanning the menu, I didn’t find anything that sounds mouth-watering to me; and one more thing, I’m afraid of hot and spicy food. So I gave up on local cuisine and decided to order something familiar, beefy green salad. It was practically an assortment of lettuce with thin slices of beef. I thought I couldnt go wrong with the salad. I was already halfway through with my salad when I tasted something different, something hot and spicy. I scanned my plate and was surprised to see that my salad was sprinkled with tiny bits of red chili. I was like, green salad with red chili??? sounds weird to me. It was unintentionally a Vietnamese dinner indeed. I was still feeling a bit hungry when we left the restaurant so I suggested walking around the block to look for a place to finish my dinner. We found a nice cafe and I had a cup of cappuccino and a slice of cheesecake. Normal coffee and cake.. without chili 🙂