Almost American style pot roast in Vietnam? You bet. Carrots softened from hours of simmering, beef about as “tender” as one can find in Vietnam, and a rich sauce all filled both a small bowl and my belly up. The crispy baguette was a thoughtful addition to mop up the remainders of the rich broth a spoon just can’t seem to scoop up. Had the bread not been there, a swipe of my finger through the leftovers would not have been out of question to prevent any droplet from succumbing to waste. It was that good.
OK, so it’s not really a pot roast but more a stew, but still, how often does one find slow cooked goodness in this country where animal products normally sizzle in a wok or char on the grill to shoe leather perfection? Does meat in American beef stew have a strip of fat one one side though like the cuts here? The waitress even seemed a bit sad these gelatinous morsels never made a return trip back out of the bowl. This goes to show one man’s delicacy is nother man’s stomach turner. The nonfat part was highly edible luckily.
Near my hotel I had spotted some sit down restaurants complete with wooden tables and western surroundings advertising authentic Vietnamese food on English sign boards. I am sure this “expensive” food is adequate enough for people needing a sanitized and more familiar experience. I was there at one point, too in the not so recent past so I do get it. I really do understand and often times I still waffle on the fence.
I am thankful this food journey is bringing me a bit deeper into Vietnam with each bite cutting some of my food inhibitions. Pho Sai Gon provided a nice welcome to Phu Quoc with the bowl of beef pho and now has sent me off with a tasty good bye with bò kho . Some great food this trip has fueled even more a desire for me to explore. All it takes is escaping the clutches of the vacation oriented tourist ‘hood and following the locals as they go about their daily lives in town.