Emerging trends in travel such as sustainable tourism, responsible travel and eco-friendly are creating a movement in the traveller’s mindset. For our series, Responsible Travel, we will be sharing our stories on food tours in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and tour companies we have personally experienced who are taking action to enhance and uplift their communities around the world.
MUST EAT IN HO CHI MINH CITY
The excitement to venture to a new country is insatiable. The whole process; researching your next destination, looking at the sights to see, checking the conversion rates, finding a great place to stay, all the while learning little knowledge you start to share with anyone vaguely interested in where you’re going. My process looks a little different; I ask myself, “Which cuisine you could live off for at least a month without getting tired of it?” The answer to that question leads me to choose Vietnam.
Vietnam is known for its culinary delights, partly because one can find its food everywhere. Very similar to the Vietnamese culture, its cuisine is fusion on many levels; East and West, healthy and filling, light and flavorful. Pho, banh mi, spring rolls, bun bowls, that delicious sweet coffee. These items were our usual order wherever we went. Then after lunch on the second day, full of rice noodles and nursing my second Vietnamese coffee, I realize that I could get this food anywhere, so why was I eating it here? I should be looking for food that I couldn’t get anywhere and only in Vietnam.
FOOD TOUR IN HO CHI MINH CITY AND VEGETARIAN
Inspired by my recent epiphany, we hunted online for a food tour in Vietnam that would offer what we were looking for, and we found XO Tours. Their XO Foodie Tour was inviting. We would get to enjoy lesser-known dishes of Vietnam in local dining settings. The fun part, we get to ride to all our destinations by scooter. The best part, they only had female guides.
Foreign tourists have been able to travel freely in the country since 1997 however up until recently the Vietnamese tourism industry was primarily male-dominated with women having little representation in the travel sector. In Vietnam, women handle the daily work of managing the home and running a family business. XO Tours believed that they could offer an invaluable perspective to everyday life by having women as tour guides.
The food tour was excellent, and we loved riding through the warm night by scooter, sitting at little tables or tiny stalls on the street. I truly felt I was experiencing nightlife as every other person living in this city. However, what was most memorable to me was our female guides. The XO Girls, endearingly called, have the opportunity to meet people from around the world while sharing their country through food.
XO Tours have a spot on our list of responsible travel tours because they saw a demographic that needed opportunities to grow, made a bold move to support it and now proving to be a success.
Book The XO Foodie, $75USD pp