Red Sauce Chicken – 83 of 365

Red Sauce Chicken

I love this confusing dichotomy called Saigon.  One minute we’re listening to Will Smith rapping “Summertime” at the Circle K convenience store.  Just minutes later we do a slow cook in the summertime heat at a halal food joint located in a dress shop while the Disney Channel plays on an old tv set looking like the year 1977 wants it back.  Surely you remember our recent curry fish with okra and tomatoes visit to Basiroh at 33 Nguyen An Ninh near the Ben Thanh Market.  I had promised the owner, Akmed, I’d soon return, and I happened to be back in the ‘hood with a fellow food lover looking for a cast iron skillet which is a story for another day.

Fried fish, curry fish and a red sauce chicken constituted the entire menu d’jour and finding a pan of recognizable chicken parts other than the standard stomach churning chunks so common in Vietnamese poultry dishes is just an indescribable delight.  Whether or not halal cooking bans the internal organs and requires cutting the bird western style I have no clue whatsoever.  But if this is how all halal chicken indeed looks, I will seek it out any day of the week.

Since the limited outdoor seating was full, we took off our shoes and entered the shop to sit at a small folding metal table set up exclusively for us.  Wow.  For the first time in my life I am a regular with a standing reservation and private table.  I have arrived!  Two feet away from my two bare feet, two young girls on the floor folded and bagged embroidered dresses and I got to thinking never in a million years could this scene ever play out in America.  That’s ok though.  It just makes my time in Vietnam even more memorable since my frame of reference is orderly sterility back home.

Dress Shop/Food Shop

The chicken was a bit on the tough side as is virtually all meat in Vietnam.  People here sure do know how to cook the hell out of our furry friends.  Well, perhaps this cooking technique proves quite useful since I suspect most of what we eat begins its journey on a tarp in some back alley market.  A little heat surely can singe the crap out any pesky little critters hoping to turn a meal into a one way gut bomb.

Tough meats may be de rigueur in these parts, but the sauces more than make up for some dryness and red sauce chicken is no exception.  A generous portion of very peppery tomato sauce accompanies this one and bits of cilantro impart an almost salsa like taste to it all.  Three simple words sum up this one…I like it.  And as for the overall ambience of eating in a clothes shop, I like that, too.  It’s Vietnam.  Why wouldn’t this be considered normal?

Akmed shook my hand and asked me not to forget about his little shop.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon since this food journey is all about collecting as many unusual experiences as possible.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

One Comment on “Red Sauce Chicken – 83 of 365”

  1. June 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Oreo Snow Balls

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