After finishing my morning sightseeing to some of the major tourist spots in town, I jumped on a cab to head up to The Lunch Lady stall early to beat the local lunch crowd. It's not hard to find once you are there even it's a little tucked away from the main street - it's right under a big tree and a canvas canopy that said "Lunch Lady". The summer heat in HCMC might be gruesome at times, but it's surprisingly comfortable under the shade of the tree branches, and I picked a spot which allowed me to observe Chef Nguyen prepared her famous noodles at the cooking station in front of the stall.
one of them. She typically serves the bigger bowl to out-of-towners by default with more noodles and ingredients (hence slightly more expensive) Drinks and other snacks are available at separate stalls nearby - their people would come to you when you sat down and asked if you need anything from them.
The stall owners next door brought me some Goi Cuon and Cha Gio - the Vietnamese garden rolls and deep-fried spring rolls respectively - and both were great too, especially the Goi Cuon with shrimps and meat and vegetables and herbs rolled in the softened ricepaper wrapper, and served with a dipping sauce of hoisin and fish sauces, crushed roasted peanuts and garlic flakes.
I don't always agree with Mr Bourdain's recommendations on local food on his TV shows, but this one is a true gem. I wouldn't miss this for anything.
Where? Lunch Lady, 23 Hoang Sa St., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam