Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi MinhThough there are tourist-friendly markets in pretty much every city in the world, the Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh is particularly interesting.

It’s one of those places where they sell everything under the sun — from knockoff watches and knick-nacks to produce and prepared meals.

Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh

I wanted to get something to eat, but I didn’t have anything in mind, so I figured I’d just wander around until I found a crowd.

Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh

The busiest vendor — by far — was this one, selling a dish called banh beo hue.

Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh

It’s not like anything I’ve had before, and when I ordered it, I literally had no idea what it was. Was it seafood? Some kind of sausage?  Who knows!

Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh

It turned out to be slices of a chewy rice cake (it’s really similar in texture to Korean rice cakes) topped with fish sauce, a generous handful of parsley, and some crispy bits of pork crackling for contrast.

It was surprisingly delicious. It was chewy, crunchy, tangy, and addictive. It also cost 20,000 dong, or about $1.10 Canadian for a fairly filling lunch, so like everything else here, it’s delightfully cheap.

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