Beef Steak – 177 of 365

Beef Steak and More

An upscale smattering of sushi joints and fancy food shops line District 1’s Le Thanh Ton Street near Vincom Center.   Now of course plastic tables and squat stools under a sagging awning at the intersection of Hai Ba Trung stand out like a sore thumb amongst this neighborhood of higher end offerings, especially next door to a cupcake shop.

The food bursting out of a darkened doorway into the seating area is anything but upscale and is actually reminiscent of what I’d expect to find at a truck stop deep in the heart of Texas.   This is about as close to America as I’ve ever seen street food come, and my friend and I watched young Vietnamese people devouring it all with knives and forks.  Did you catch that?  Knives and forks rather than chopsticks and spoons.   This was already off to a bizarre start.

Saigon Truck Stop Food

Curious yet as to what this was?  The sign says “beefsteak” in English, and the woman yelled out to us “beefsteak, beefsteak” while motioning us out of the rain.  We figured what the hell, why not?  The tarp will keep us dry, we are hungry and some comfort food would hit the spot this cool afternoon.  I listened as the sound of sizzling grease did its thing hidden from view.  Actually no, I cringed for that would soon be my arteries imploding in horror.

Two sizzling cast iron skillets arrived and I noticed each was shaped like a cow complete with legs and head.  A bit of whimsy out on the sidewalk…who doesn’t love that?  As the grease sizzled and spat, I admired the contents wallowing in the cow’s belly.  This mess was a veritable who’s who of everything not to eat, and that just made me want to ingest it even more.

Knives and Forks and Eating With Locals

Two pieces of thin steak, a hot dog, sunny side up egg, spam, french fries and a dollop of pure butter just screamed heart attack on a plate.  A crispy baguette stood ready on the side to mop up any remaining debris.  Slices of deliciously ripe tomatoes, onion and lettuce do provide some token health to an otherwise nutritionally barren dish.

I don’t ever want to hear another word that we Americans monopolize this sort of gut busting fare since I have randomly found a platter of diner food right here in Vietnam.  Just one thing though…how does everyone sitting under that tarp remain so skinny?   That’s the next ancient Saigon secret we need to uncover.

What luck my next flight physical for work isn’t for another six months.  My body will probably need that long to purge itself of this fine food.  I think what worries me most is that I thoroughly enjoyed every bite and at just over $2 it’s a deal indeed.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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