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Five Hours to Kill at SGN (airport)

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On New Year's Day, enroute from Manila to Siem Reap, it looks like we have several hours in the mid-afternoon to spend sitting at SGN. Though we will be spending a couple of days in Saigon on the way back, I would hate to waste any opportunity for a good Vietnamese meal (or at least a couple of good local snacks.) Am I hoping for too much (or risking a missed flight) if I leave the airport in search of real sustenance? Are there any good places in or near SGN that are feasible feasting options on Jan. 1?

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  1. Hey, nut! It takes about a half hour at most to get into town for any number of great eats. Although the airport can be a bit of a zoo - it is usually efficient coming and going. There is not much right around the airport.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      Hi, Sam--and thank you! So it seems possible to get into town and have a good meal and make it back in around 3 hours. . . Any suggestions for those great eats you mentioned?

      (BTW, I'm in Manila right now, and will think of you when I next dine on tinapa and sinangag. [smoked fish and garlic fried rice] And I'll bring back some extra tinapang bangus, to share with nice people ;-))

      1. re: pilinut

        Tinapa!!! MMMmmm.

        I don't remember the names of the closest places, but there are many. We always just directed our "driver" or our professional colleagues would select a place. Shoul be no problem.

        1. re: pilinut

          pilinut, try not to venture into HCMC if there're rains - the traffic can be killing. As Tan Son Nhat Airport is in Tan Binh district, try & Google for restaurants there. 2 years back, I was on a business trip visiting our airfreight office near the airport - there are a few family-style restaurants popular amongst locals nearby.
          If you're looking for pho, try Pho 24 - branch nearest airport is at 107 Tran Quoc Hoan St., Tan Binh Dist., HCMC, Tel: (08) 3914 2424 - but they may only speak Vietnamese). Also good cha gio & goi cuon.

          1. re: klyeoh

            Many thanks, klyeoh! The devil is in details like traffic caused by rain. Coming from Manila, I know how 10km can turn into 2 hours.

            On the other hand, your Pho 24 sounds like the ideal thing in the ideal place. Thanks, indeed!

      2. 'BUN CHA VAN AN'

        on the corner of TRUONG SON ST and SONG DAY.
        TRUONG SON is the main street leading to the airport. SONG DAY street is less than 1 kilometer from the 'port.

        Excellent northern style 'bun cha' [grilled pork with rice noodles and veggies] and crab-filled fried spring rolls 'cha gio cua'. Delicious. 20.000 VND. Beats the souless pho 24 chain hands down. A few pennies cheaper, too boot.

        1 Reply
        1. re: anthonyrza

          You may have just made my New Year's Day. Thank you very much! The details re on in my organizer.