Cà Ri Gà Curry Chicken – 125 of 365

Kà Ri Gà

What’s the easiest way to rock a friend’s world to its core?   You take her to the streets for a real Vietnamese meal far from the comforts of a Western sit down meal ordered from a menu.   Anneke has been in Saigon several months and has yet to sample the best on offer in the streets.   I ask myself how can anyone walk past all these narrow storefronts day after day and never sit down with the locals for some cheap and authentic cooking.   But I do get it and the street food world can seem a dark, scary place to the uninitiated.  She tells me she isn’t even remotely curious to roll the dice, but would check it out anyhow just to humor me.

I am finding I could probably eat my way through all 365 meals of this project at Com 31 on Ly Tu Trong Street in the shadows of District 1’s Vincom Center.  Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration but the large selection does change daily.  With so many choices loitering in metal serving pans, making a lunch choice is a slow process indeed, much to the ire of the owner and Anneke who I am sure wish I would just expedite the process and get the heck out of the way.

The longer I study the piles of food, the more assistance I get from the owner’s family members who begin pointing at the interesting remains of our various barnyard friends.  Only because they weren’t the normal hacked bird parts customarily served up in bowls of pho or over plates of rice, I selected chicken thighs in some sort of sauce.  No livers, no kidneys, no weird pieces of gamey skin.  No nothing.   Am I actually in Vietnam?  I’m pretty sure I just flew 24 hours from America a few days ago, but chicken meat without the rest of the bird still attached to it?  Nice!  These sanitized, tender and moist poultry parts are definitely winners in the lunch jackpot.

The sauce turned out to be a great surprise, too…a nice tasting yellow curry with just enough subtle kick.  At first the oily liquid hits with a bit of a sweet and then a few seconds later a nice lingering burn pummels the tongue.   Isn’t this the perfect one two punch for any spicy dish?   Anneke ordered the same and picked at a few kernels of rice but left the chicken behind.  She still believes this cuisine will quickly stir up a one way trip to the porcelain god.  So yes, the only thing from Com 31 Anneke is digesting is an entire side of Saigon she has somehow missed.  Yet I think she will always savor the experience if not the cà ri gà.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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