I eavesdropped as four German guys delivered a scorching analysis of this District 3 sidewalk food joint at 58 Vo Van To Street. They of course passed on it which really is too bad for they missed out on a great Saigon street food experience. Food is after all one of the top perks of traveling to a foreign land.
My lingering just a second too long to send a text message was all the owner needed to start the hard sell. She mimed the universal symbol for “eat my food” by pretending to shovel huge amounts of it into her mouth. Well, it was lunch time and I was hungry. I surveyed the crowd of taxi drivers, construction workers, and office types and thought this seems legit enough. Funny isn’t how my analysis was so different than the opinions of European tourists.
A steady stream of motorbikes pulled up with their drivers yelling out takeaway orders, and much to the owner’s surprise, I preferred to “dine in” rather than carry out. And when I say dine in, I mean this was the quintessential Saigon experience, and my utmost apologies for using such a clichéd word such as quintessential. But seriously, how much more Vietnamese can we get sweating our butts off on a sidewalk with a quads workout while squatting precariously on a plastic stool about as high as an ankle.
The strips of pork were lean which is always, always, always an amazing find in Vietnam. I just can’t get into scraping away layer upon layer of gelatinous waste to cull a tiny strip of edible meat. And how do Vietnamese people stay so skinny with all this fat laden meat? And let’s not even get started on all the fried foods. But I digress.
The pork was a bit salty but I did enjoy the minced lemongrass pieces so nicely stirfried and stuck to the pork. Oh, oh, oh…I almost forgot. The soup! This was probably one of the best soups I have had to date in Vietnam. Large chunks of tomato floated around in a slightly sweet broth. Have you ever had miso soup? Well you know how it is cloudy? This one was much the same with small bits of something floating around in there. I have no idea what so maybe I will guess super ground up tofu. Whatever it was, I am a huge fan.
All this for about a buck twenty-five…what more could a guy ask for? I just wish the four German guys would have put down their guidebooks and maps and pulled up a squat stool. This meal is something those black and white pages will never reveal.