Vietnam – My Many Meals

Why would anyone want to reach early FI, particularly at such a young age, anyway? I mean seriously, you’re going to be bored out of your mind all day, doing NOTHING! Don’t you know that they’ve done research studies out there and they’ve found that people who are unproductive, lounging around all day and not using their brains actively end up becoming completely depressed people who feel totally disconnected with modern society? I mean if you’re not interacting with your co-workers on a regular basis, your brain is just gonna become mush and you’re going to feel like you’re going through life without any goals or purposes!

It’s a very depressing life…

And don’t get me started on the finances!

Dude, what are you thinking!?! Do you not have any idea of how difficult it’s going to be for you to make ends meet? Who wants to retire and go through life living as a pauper? Wait, let me restate that — You’ll be begging your way through life, subsisting only off the generosity of kind strangers! Thanks, but no thanks. I prefer to keep my dignity, and I quite like my free morning and afternoon coffees, paid for and courtesy of my excellent company/employer who always has my back and will take care of me until the end of time, thank you very much.

You’re doing it all wrong…

And c’mon, you’re not a little kid anymore… Stop daydreaming like a child, wake up, and get in touch with reality. That’s what grown ups and adults do! They go through life following orders and obeying authority figures… never questioning the status quo and how things work… Everything is the way it is because it is! Rules were put in place for good reason! It takes all the speculation and guesswork out of life, making things far more efficient and orderly.

Anyway, back to work itself…

It’s quite simple, really… Each and every day/week/month/year we are assigned tasks that we need to complete on time and on budget. See, this is where things get super exciting! If we exceed expectations, we get to help the company/employer even more, as any “shining stars” will no doubt be assigned even more tasks! Wow, talk about being productive with one’s life! And the best part of it all? You’ll be greatly compensated by earning a 3% annual raise, if you’re fortunate enough. Buy hey, 2% isn’t all that bad either… 1%? Hey, it happens, life isn’t always going to be a picnic! And 0%? Just be damn grateful you still have a job, ok! We are all fighting and working towards a greater cause, after all… Good on the company and its executives for knowing how to strategize and plan accordingly so that the people on top (the ones we depend on, don’t you forget!) can reap the bulk of the profits!

But don’t worry, it gets much better… Once we’ve got the game figured out, we routinely continue busting our humps all year round, hoping and praying that one day we will wake up in a nice little office and become the aforementioned authority figure! See, you’ve got to always be aiming up as a person and aspiring for more out of your life. Further, everything you could ever want and desire is conveniently located within a nicely contained, isolated 10 mile radius… 20 miles at most, if you’re the bold type, although I wouldn’t recommend it! Remember, curiosity killed the cat, so don’t you dare venture outside of your pre-established comfort zones!

One day when you are old and gray, you will look back on what I said and realize just how right I was all along… You will forever cherish all the priceless memories of your many years of service and hard work, filled with: conference calls, staff meetings, powerpoint presentations, meeting customers, training courses, more staff meetings, late night meetings with the team from overseas, even more late night meetings with the team from overseas, those crunch time tasks that require you to come in on the weekends, etc…

This is sage advice I’m giving to you here, worth its weight in gold.

This is the path to the good life!


*End transmission*


Ok, so back to reality and the early FI life! Yeah, so I’ve been busy flying around the globe (well hopping around Asia and now back to California), so I’ve been a bit behind on my travel updates.

But anyway, I thought it would be fun to just compile a post with all the “good meals” that I’ve enjoyed on my journey these past nine months. To get started, I’ll focus on Vietnam (since Vietnamese food is probably my favorite), demonstrating to readers that the early FI life isn’t one filled with begging, sacrifice, deprivation, and no fun…


On the contrary, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten better… for cheaper.


I had a ball out in Vietnam, and I certainly have plans to return in the near future! Funny enough, one of my Hong Kong buddies also feels the same way, and he has plans to go back out to Vietnam again (this spring)… for like the 5th time!


So much for being a hermit and shunning the world! Hah! The world is a BIG ASS place and there are way too many fun and exciting things/places/people/food to explore!


If you want adventure, early FI is the lifestyle for you!


That’s the REAL message with this post!


Here we go… Good eats. One month in Vietnam (in random order)!


Believe it or not… The best bowl of pho (pho tai bo vien; pho with rare steak and meatballs) I had in Vietnam was found at the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Da Nang. Room service. I must have ordered it like 5 times… for about $10 USD (yeah, not cheap for Vietnam standards)! But sooooo good! Go figure…

Beef and rice dish in Vung Tau.

Ramen at Takashimaya Mall in Ho Chi Minh City, District 1.

Home cooked meal. Lettuce wraps with rice noodle, dried shrimp, pork filling. Served with extra fish sauce (with citrusy lemon), fresh herbs, and peanuts on the side.

Lounge food in Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Da Nang.

Bun Rieu in Ho Chi Minh City.

Home cooked rice congee with Vietnamese pork sausage (cha lua).

My Banh Mi, located in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, across the street from the Notre-Dame Basilica (main tourist attraction). The best banh mi I had in Vietnam.

No joke, I loaded up on these!

Encore! Do you want more? I sure did!

Yummy food in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Popular Com Tam Thuan Kieu chain restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City.

Another plate!

Old family friend sells coffee for a living! I just had to try it…

Korean beef bone soup in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City.

Breakfast at Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Da Nang.

Hoi An style dish in Da Nang.

Delicious fried fish and shrimp in Vung Tau.

Fresh seafood galore in Vung Tau. I LOVE oysters!

Clams! More fresh seafood in Vung Tau.

Pho bo vien. First bowl of pho I had in Ho Chi Minh City.

For $3 USD/bowl of pho… sure, why not make it two? Pho tai ftw!

Room service! Fried rice and french toast at Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Da Nang.

Delicious pork, egg rolls, and rice dish in Ho Chi Minh City.

Fish and lettuce at Time Bistro in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Gotta make time for tea time while you’re in Ho Chi Minh City!

More often then once, I should add!

Banh Mi Phoung in Hoi An, Anthony Bourdain approved!

Master Chef approved for $1 USD… are you freekin’ kidding me? Of course I will take one… or two… or three of those!

Delicious! Banh Mi Phuong, probably the best banh mi deal in all of Vietnam… Maybe… I still prefer My Banh Mi (overall, I really like their bread), but that’s like 3x the price!

Early FI in the middle of “winter” in Hoi An, sipping some coffee while chilling outside (bright, sunny, and warm) on the balcony. C’mon, who hasn’t envisioned this experience at some point upon reaching early FI?

The seafood special (street food) in District 4, in Ho Chi Minh City. It was just alright…

Steak and fries in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City… One of the very few times I indulged in Western food out in Vietnam.

Comfort food! Man, this dish was so delicious I must have ordered in 3-4 times, on separate occasions. Ho Chi Minh City.

Pho Hoa is LEGIT! Yummmmmy! Found on Pasteur St. in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Refreshing watermelon juice hits the spot when the weather outside is 90° F plus!

Yup! Lots of delicious desserts to be found in Ho Chi Minh City too!

More home cooked meals in Ho Chi Minh City with family.

More dishes… It was quite the feast!

Best hu tieu I had in Vietnam was found in Hu Tieu Nam Vang Nhan Quan, located in Ho Chi Minh City… but too much MSG, sadly, that was the only real drawback here.

Best com tam I had in Vietnam was found in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City.

The crab was splendid!

All you can eat lounge food at Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Da Nang was mighty difficult to refuse! So I didn’t…

Cheers to the early FI life!

Ca phe sua da for less than $1 USD! Perfect after lunch, just chilling like a local!

Gotta run for now!


To be continued…

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3 years ago

Everything looks so delicious! I’d love to visit Vietnam, but just haven’t had a chance yet. Next time we go to Thailand, we’ll definitely stop over and check it out. I have to visit before it change much more. Who knows what Vietnam will look like in 10 years.
Sounds like you are enjoying ER very much. That’s great.

Dividend Growth Investor

I love pictures of food. Never been to Vietnam, but would like to visit one day.

On a side note, I think you can deduct some of those meal costs come tax time as business expense.

3 years ago

WOW… those images gave me a serious appetite. Those dishes looked really, really good. Everyone knows for the best, authentic food Hyatt is THE only place to go. Whenever I travel it’s Hyatt eating or nothing 🙂

3 years ago

I love the food. this is somewhere i really want to go.