Eating With Locals

Early in January, Martin Sleegers of With Locals introduced me to their site.
 photo WithLocals_zpsae66f684.pngWith Locals is your go to site if you want to experience an immersion of sorts in your choice of destination. Right now, With Locals have hosts from Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia, Nepal, and Malaysia. Local hosts can either host your local tour, local activity or introduce you to authentic local cuisine via their home kitchen.

 photo withlocals2_zps3a147f12.pngWith Locals is such an interesting concept that I just had to have hubby on board. He chose to EAT WITH LOCALS and picked Tuan and Tu who live in District 1. Reservations is easy via the website and you’d only need to pay a minimal reservation fee through PayPAL.

 photo 20140214_190933_zps224a25d4.jpgSo on Valentine’s Day (perfect day, eh?), we (together with our friends Soki and Ry) went to Tuan and Tu’s home. They lived on top of their own spa business. The place smelled of lemongrass. πŸ™‚

 photo IMG_0500_zpsf3ad6a37.jpgTuan and Tu are siblings from Hanoi who have found their home in Saigon some 15 years ago. They own two restaurants: Tuan Tu (28/38B Tran Cao Van St., District 3; 38297732) and Green Rice Com Xanh Restaurant (6 Thai Van Lung St., District 1; 38257376).

 photo IMG_0507_zps6fbf791c.jpgWhen we arrived, they ushered us to the kitchen, as I requested earlier through our email exchange. I wanted that we could at least see one dish prepared. Tu was preparing the Bamboo Shoot and Roasted Duck Salad.

 photo IMG_0501_zps7d6f6827.jpgThe dressing is fish sauce with sugar and dried chili.

 photo IMG_0504_zps2d3f7ab1.jpgWhile Tu was preparing the salad, Tuan served us drinks. Soki (my pregnant friend) and I chose the apricot juice. Would you believe that they had to prepare this drink a year ago. The apricot had to have been sort of fermented for a year. It was delicious. Much like prune juice.

While chatting, we learned that we were their second group of guests. photo IMG_0510_zps83f97b10.jpgWith the salad prepared, we head on up to their rooftop! photo IMG_0512_zps00adda14.jpgThe weather was perfect, the table beautifully set, and somewhere in the distance we could hear a Filipino band playing in some restaurant or bar nearby.

 photo IMG_0526_zpsaa224681.jpgTuan and Tu prepared a 6-course meal. And second in the menu was the Cabbage Rolls with Pork

 photo IMG_0527_zpsbcbe12e3.jpgThe dishes were mostly from Hanoi which was a real treat because we haven’t been to Hanoi and do not know much about Hanoian cuisine save for cha ca la vong. πŸ˜›

 photo IMG_0528_zpsba219ca9.jpgAfter the salad and cabbage, I was already actually full (burp!). Then came in the Tofu with Onion Sauce.

 photo IMG_0533_zps5ed9fc5c.jpgTuan and Tu were not formally trained in the art of cooking but they sat at the kitchen of their mentor since they were little, their grandmother. The prawn with garlic and oyster sauce was delish!

 photo IMG_0534_zpsf93fdab8.jpgBy the time the Steamed Fish with Lemongrass and Lime was served, we were convinced that the Tuan and Tu are gifted cooks. I loved the sauce of this dish!

 photo IMG_0541_zpse72d709b.jpgThe sixth and final dish was the Chicken and Mushroom Soup — much like the Filipino version of Tinola.

 photo IMG_0547_zpsc4c83107.jpg

And for dessert, Fruit Salad! This was a combination of strawberries, jackfruit, chico, and banana in honey. Absolutely delightful!

 photo IMG_0548_zps56d81f3b.jpgTowards the end of the dinner, Tuan joined us. Tuan aside from their restaurants their spa business is busy with his own PR agency.

What a wonderful way to celebrate Valentine’s Day! I would definitely recommend choosing your own adventure through With LocalsΒ or if you want to be a host, you can sign up with them (I wish Filipinos would sign up for this!) If you’re considering trying local cuisine in Ho Chi Minh City, do book Tuan and Tu. They will not disappoint! πŸ™‚

This entry was posted in Exploring Saigon, Gastronomic Delights and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Eating With Locals

  1. agnesstramp says:

    What a great experience. I’m literally licking my computer screen right now when looking at all of these yummy and delicious dishes on the table. I love to experience authentic cuisine of each country I travel to and dining out with locals is amazing!

    • Lyra says:

      Thanks Agnes for visiting! Local hosting is really the key to experiencing the real local cuisine. πŸ˜‰ Hope you visit Vietnam!

  2. Tamar Simons says:

    Sounds amazing. Are the hosts you ate with still on “With Locals”? I can’t find them…

  3. Pingback: 200 Free Dinners from With Locals! | Hello Saigon!

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