Another Day, Another Dollar

The Streets Below are a Canvas for Amazing Food

Any of us semi versed in the English language should have heard by now the phrase “another day another dollar” to describe the drudgery we call earning a living through our daily toils. Four words. Nine syllables. 23 Letters of the Roman alphabet. These consonants and vowels blend together to produce a phrase connoting something from which we all dream of an escape.

This got me to thinking about how food is an escape for many, sometimes with disastrous results as evidenced by any casual stroll through the nearest Wal-Mart. While visions of Two Ton Tessie motoring around the aisles on her scooter danced through my head, I began to see that another day, another dollar has a completely different meaning halfway around the world here in Vietnam. You see, over here that measly rectangular greenback (or 22,000 Dong in the local currency) worth so little back home can buy a different street meal here every day of the week.

And yes, delicious food is an escape from our everyday lives giving us a few precious minutes of pleasure as we savor the flavors. So much like consonants and vowels merging together to give us those four words, I am now on the quest to spend a dollar or two every day to discover how fresh ingedients blend together to bring us a little bit of food paradise.

What does this dollar buy us back home anyhow? Let’s see…a double burger with processed cheese on cheap white bread off a value menu somewhere. A small cup of salty chili infused with gristly chopped hamburger patty product. Hell, a handful of George Washingtons are the price of admission for that five dollar footlong sub. That’s five meals over here. Count them…five days of food in Vietnam for the price of one processed meat sandwich only our waistlines and bathroom scales will remember and wax poetic about an hour later.

Let me add my disclaimer here that I am not a chef, I am not a food critic, and I have no culinary training beyond some random cooking classes in Laos and Thailand. I am not a food snob as I eat those five dollar footlongs and chicken nuggets and quite enjoy them actually. All I know is what tastes good to me and if I like it, I will eat it over and over again. And Vietnam absolutely does not disappoint on the quest for food affordable, fresh, and delicious.

The picture above is the view from my apartment high above Saigon and the colorful streets below provide the canvas for this amazing food journey to come. I know most people will not have the opportunity to fly 24 hours across the world to sample these foods in their native habitats, much less the chance to live here, so here goes a food tour you can sample from your own kitchen table…

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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