The XO girls are seriously what makes this tour what it is, which is fabulous! They are bright, young smart Vietnamese girls who obviously have a passion for their country. By the end of every tour, I, as well as our guests, have lumps in our throats as we say goodbye. You really feel like you have made a friend. A lot of people come to Vietnam and do not have many opportunities to speak to “real” Vietnamese people. To sit down and talk about all manner of things. Education, politics, music, culture and hopes and dreams for the future. There may be a few companies around trying to imitate what XO initiated 3 years ago but XO has one thing that puts them ahead in the game and in my opinion, always will. I don’t know how they find them but they are just wonderful!
By the end of the first 30 minutes, they felt like adorable younger sisters who moved abroad and were showing us their new digs. There may have even been a Britney Spears song belted out while riding on the highway. Take note, this is one of the best ways to bridge the Canadian-Vietnamese divide.
Along the way, beer flowed, goat udders charred, recipes were revealed, duck eggs with embryo challenged eaters, Saigon neighborhood history was told, grilled scallops and chili crab were savored, chop stick dexterity was competed, and genuine smiles were shared.
I like our version of Hunger Games: more eating, less violence. This extraordinary tour also made me realize that appearances could be deceiving. We just experienced a tour of the ordinary, a glimpse of every day occurrences, and we had the time of our lives.
Out of our whole time in Veitnam our favourite experience was taking the XO Foodie Tour that the lovely Carrie & Phil recommended to us. (Thanks, guys!) We went on our first night in Saigon which happened to be Valentine’s Day. We spent the evening zooming around Saigon on the back of scooters stopping at different stalls to eat amazing food.
I thought after living here for I while I knew Saigon. After 5 hours with the girls I know I have not even scratched the surface. The whole concept of XO is not necessarily to take you to the most famous or even the most delicious restaurants. It is to take you where everybody REALLY goes.