Got a dining tip on this little gem of a place from fellow CH, foodfirst (Eating Asia): Hòa Mã is a busy breakfast spot at 53 Cao Thang in District 3. It opens at around 6am and closes once everything is sold out, sometimes as early as 10.30am - so do come early if you want a taste of its popular breakfast offerings.
It's a simple breakfast of two eggs, perfectly-cooked till translucent on the outside and still deliciously runny inside, accompanied by three types of Vietnamese sausages ("chả lụa") - slivers of "xúc xích" (pork sausage), 3 wands of "chả cá" (wrinkly, spongey, deep-fried fish cake), a couple of cubes of very tasty "thịt nguội" (ham), onions and scallions. Also ordered a little side-dish of pate and mayonnaise which improved the overall flavour of the dish tremendously.
There was that requisite dish of crunchy pickled carrots, cucumber and jicama - less sweet than the ones we get in Singapore, and with an interesting, strong flavour of ginger in the marinade.
The baguette was light and crusty on the outside, and impossibly light and cottony inside. Saigon residents have been making a beeline for Hoa Ma's bread since 1960 (when founder-owner, Nguyen Thi Tinh, moved to Saigon from the North) - as I sat at my table this morning on the side-street, I could see numerous motorcyclists stopping by just to buy the plain baguettes. The baguettes here are reputedly even better than those from the iconic 40-year-old Như Lan, which supposedly sets the benchmark in town.
Everything was made in-house here - you basically get a truly artisanal Saigon breakfast :-)
Bánh mì Hòa Mã
Đường Cao Thắng
Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh