Beatriz Cuadrado

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All You Need to Know, Daily Life in Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam Basics, Vietnamese Food

Saigon’s Ultimate Must-Visit Restaurant Types

Oh, how we wish we could go back to the life of a nomad! The new experiences, the people, and most of all the food… Do you want to know exactly how to take full advantage of the different food experiences Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) has to offer? Then look no further. In this week’s blog, we’re going to give you a run down of the four (4) most popular types of restaurants that this wonderful food metropolis has to offer.


Food Stalls

Street food is an ingrained part of Vietnamese cuisine, which is celebrated worldwide for its convenience, speed of service and its phenomenal flavours! Saigon is teeming with food vendors sprawled throughout the city: from wide open streets to narrow alleyways. There are usually only 1-2 sellers per vendor, but they are kept busy with long queues of hungry locals looking for a cheap and tasty on-the-go meal.

saigon foodWhy not try…

Banh Xeo Nga – This is one of our stops on the food tour, and are famous for their Vietnamese pancakes !

Banh Mi 37 – They do the best Perfect Pork Meatball Sandwich!


Family-Run Restaurants

Family-owned restaurants typically only offer one type of dish which has been popular with locals over the years and ultimately made the family restaurant a household name. Their speciality could be a specific recipe or technique which the family has perfected and passed down from generation to generation. The true strength of restaurants like these are their affordable yet distinctly delicious dishes.

You can’t miss out…

Bánh Cuốn Tây Hồ – Try their popular fish sauce!

Miến gà Kỳ Đồng – It doesn’t get more traditional than this!



Vietnamese “Pubs”

In Vietnamese drinking culture, there are some restaurants where people can both go out drinking to and eat dinner at the same time. Common dishes you can find at these establishments are shellfish, BBQ and hotpot. People tend to drink a lot of beer alongside the food and gather in hoards at weekends.

saigon pubsJoin the party at…

The D Saigon – A unique and cozy bar inside the oldest market of Saigon.



Traditional Restaurants

Popular with tourists for their cosy atmosphere and English-speaking staff, it’s also the transformative experience that these traditional restaurants offer which attracts potential diners. Dining in one of these restaurants can feel like you have stepped back into 19th century rural Vietnam. These restaurants offer an immersive experience with beautiful decoration, relaxing music and a range of authentic Vietnamese food and drink.

saigon food

A hidden gem…

Hue House – A rooftop restaurant that you wouldn’t even know is there!


Internships Advice, Participant Perspectives

My Pagoda Story – Josie Davies, Cardiff University

In this #MyPagodaStory series, we’re featuring guest blogs from participants that just completed our Christmas Special Programme. This is Pagoda Participant Josie Davies, from Cardiff University.

Keep reading to see how Josie got to discover Mexico from her room while improving her digital skills and employability!

Before enrolling on the Cardiff Christmas Special Pagoda Programme, I had no idea what to expect. I have always enjoyed learning about different cultures and engaging with people from various walks of life so I thought I may benefit from enhancing my cultural knowledge. I was also attracted to the employability and digital competency aspect of the programme because at the time I was applying for placements and wanted advice on how to improve my applications.

skills courses

Cultural Mentor Experience

My expectations of this programme were exceeded, and I felt that I have learnt a lot about many countries, in particular Mexico, but also Vietnam and China. My cultural mentor meetings were the highlight of my experience on this programme because I had a great connection with Danny and got first-hand information about what it is like to live in Mexico.

I learnt some very interesting facts about New Year’s celebrations from Danny. Learning about celebrities in Mexico was also fascinating to me because I found it bizarre which celebrities from the UK were famous there. Unfortunately, I knew of very little Mexican celebrities which highlighted my lack of awareness of where people originate from. This inspired me to make sure I take time to learn where people come from and learn more about their background.

skills course

Online Skill Courses

The Digital Competency course has benefited me in so many ways, but particularly the LinkedIn workshop has helped be immensely. Before this skills course I was so unsure about how to use LinkedIn and was not entirely sure what it was good for. After completing the course, I was then able to go and set up my account and develop my profile in a way that is attractive to professionals in my field. Since this I have been constantly developing my connections and have been reaching out to professionals, all thanks to this course.

I would recommend this programme to anyone hoping to improve their employability, intercultural fluency, or digital skills as there are so many courses and webinars to help.

I am now more motivated than ever to develop a wide range of skills further and more specifically I am looking to improve my Spanish ability so that I can speak to a larger range of people, my cultural meetings with Danny have inspired me to do this.

Internship Experience, Participant Perspectives

My Pagoda Story – Alys Patterson, Cardiff Metropolitan University

In this #MyPagodaStory series, we’re featuring guest blogs from participants that just completed our Christmas Special Programme. This is Pagoda Participant Alys Patterson, from Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Keep reading to see how Alys enhanced her employability with our courses and broadened her horizons through her cultura mentor calls… All during her Christmas break!

I was very excited to learn mid-December that I had been accepted to take part in a 3-week virtual Christmas special programme. This opportunity provided me with a positive way of staying productive over the Christmas holidays and gave me valuable insights into numerous cultures. There were 3 main tasks involved in the programme that included an hour-long weekly chat with an assigned cultural mentor, completing at least 2 out of 4 online courses, and actively engaging with pre-recorded workshops.

Cultural Mentor Experience

I was lucky enough to be paired with Juliet Zhou originally from Shantou City in China, but currently studying in Beijing. Juliet was so lovely to get to know, and it was so interesting to talk about our goals and values. We learnt despite coming from different cultures, we shared a great deal in common.

Despite initially being afraid Juliet and I would have nothing in common, the experience made me realise that my fear was misguided. I learnt that when interacting with someone from a different culture, there are many possibilities you may find shared interests.

This programme has allowed me to expand my knowledge on multiple topics such as Asian Culture via my cultural mentor and improve my digitals skills. I am wholeheartedly sure that every aspect of this programme will positively impact my future, and I am so thankful for that.

Online Skill Courses

I managed to complete and thoroughly enjoy all four courses on Employability Skills, Digital Competency, Cultural Influences and Workplace Basics.

I learnt so much about effectively using LinkedIn and updated my CV and cover letter to a much more professional standard. I also completed a SWOT analysis to determine the target areas I would like to improve on.

Christmas Challenges

As this programme ran over the Christmas holidays, it was great to see the Pagoda Projects team provide Christmas themed activities. It felt like such a unique project to be a part of due to their hard work.

I often found myself working on a skills course and then having a fun little break to participate in some of the themed activities such as the Christmas decorations and jumper challenge and nabbing third place in the Christmas destinations quiz! I cannot help but applaud the team for taking the time to provide us with some entertainment over the festive period.