OK, so if you’re on the hunt for a real greasy fry-up in Saigon, it’s time for some Op La!
Officially known as Banh Mi Op La, this yummy breakfast is usually served up as sunny side up / fried eggs, complete with an assortment of fried pork and sausage and a friendly-sized crispy baguette, plus a fairly greasy looking mayo/pate combo that comes in a small side-dish. In short, don’t expect to eat too much until well into the evening!
There are a number of places in Saigon where you can catch a great Op La, but without a doubt, the King of Op La has to be Banh Mi Hoa Ha (click here for directions) in District 3.
Set in an alleyway just off of one of District 3’s main streets (Cao Thang), part of the Op La experience at Hoa Ma is your dining environment. The ubiquitous red and blue stools are out in force here, as small tables are squeezed in against each side of the alleyway – and yes, expect passing traffic and pedestrians while you feast away!
The menu is fairly limited, with Op La and Banh Mi your only options, but it’s the Op La people come for. They also serve a great iced coffee here, though my local Vietnamese coffee snobs insist that at the price they sell here, it can only be poor quality. Who cares – on a hot Saigon morning it was very refreshing!
One thing to be aware of: this place closes early as it’s primarily a breakfast joint. In fact, if you get here after 9:30 don’t be surprised to hear that not all options are available (and they don’t have that many options, as mentioned above)!
All in all this is one of the Vietnamese dining experiences you’ll take back home with you – and without a doubt, that sizzling sound as your dish comes piping hot to your table is one to stick in the memory banks!