Pasalubongs We Picked up in Ho Chi Minh That Are as Tasty as They Are Beautifully Packaged

March 28, 2017

The largest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh is a treasure of sights, sounds and tastes. We had a delicious time loosening our belt buckles to both fascinating street eats and Instagram-worthy restaurants, but when it was time to bid the final city goodbye we couldn’t help but want to bring a taste of Saigon home with us.

Though Vietnam is likely best known for its aromatic coffee that is roasted in butter to give it its distinct rich taste (and trust us, we got at least 5 kilos worth collectively), we want to share with you the most standout gifts that are as tasty as they are beautifully packaged and perfect for bringing home as pasalubong. Your friends will thank you for the Instagram likes.

Left: Saigon Charlie’s / Coffee Honey / Cocoa Cider | Right: 4 flavors of Marou

MAROU bean-to-bar chocolate

As we learned in last month’s in-depth look at chocolate, a high percentage of chocolate does not necessarily correlate to bitterness. That certainly applies to local bean-to-bar chocolate Marou. We picked up 4 different types whose pure chocolate percentages were all 70% and up, but even the most pure one (at 78%) had an approachable, mellow flavor. In fact, the percentage seemed to hardly guide the flavor at all as each bar offers its own distinct taste. The texture isn’t quite gritty, and isn’t quite creamy, and maybe it’s just us but we liked where it was going.


This hot sauce brand came in three flavors and heat levels but being Filipinos, we had to go for the sweet and spicy (that’s sweetened with a touch of honey and rates at a medium level of spice). We were a bit disappointed on their spice rating, because upon trying it, we would rate its spice non-existent. But what they lack in spice, they make up in flavor. If you are like some people who power through the pain of hot sauce for the unparalleled flavor of chilis, this is the hot sauce for you.


Morere offers a coffee flower honey, which from it’s name you can likely guess is harvested in hives that thrive by coffee farms. We were lucky to grab a small pot of it given its limited harvesting season (January to April only).The honey has a sweet floral taste that mingles with a tart citrus. We could only grab a small pot of it during our visit, but a small pot is all we could afford of this pricey product. Next time we’re around during the harvest season, we’ll be sure to save up for a bigger jar.


Stonehill’s cacao nibs are extremely moist with a remarkable depth and robustness in flavor—chewier and with a thicker mouthfeel than the nibs we have encountered locally. But we were really captivated by their cocoa cider. As expected with ciders, the flavor of the cocoa cider is very bright; it has a dry chocolate taste with a bit of grit. For those who love to discover new alcoholic drinks, Stonehill serves up something tasty, distinct, and quality.

Have you tried any of these? What do you think of them? What pasalubongs should we get next time we visit Vietnam?
Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña

Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.

5 comments in this post SHOW

5 responses to “Pasalubongs We Picked up in Ho Chi Minh That Are as Tasty as They Are Beautifully Packaged”

  1. Kevin says:

    There’s a lot of dried/candied stuff in Ben Thanh Market! I liked the candied white beans and ginger. My wife and I bought several bottles of the hot sauce and a couple of Marou bars to give to our friends when we visited HCMC.

    And of course, you can’t visit Vietnam without bringing home their coffee with matching steel filter.

    • Bea Osmeña says:

      Yesss, the candied ginger is so good! Too bad I didn’t try the white beans – will look out for it next time. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Bianca says:

    Oh my god, yes, Marou is the shit.

  3. Bianca says:

    oh my god, yes. marou is the shit. such good dark chocolate! it’s so hard to find here though. i saw it once in merkado in UP town and hoarded lmao.

  4. Pam5 says:

    I forgot to tell you to try Red Boat fish sauce and their other related fish products. Very delicious and innovative!

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