Gà Nướng Grilled Chicken – 297 of 365

Gà Nướng

I immersed a friend into his first street food experience and this one went down as one to remember.  We wandered over to Ngo Tat To Street in Binh Thanh District for a grilled dinner and along with the slab of meat came a slice of chaos.  And when I say immersion I mean a giant cannon ball splash into the gritty pool we call Saigon.

Several varieties of animal parts were already sizzling on the grill as we walked up on the grillmaster and startled him, and the ribs looked amazing.  I know I clearly pointed to the ribs because the guy poking the meat with his tongs said the word for this type of meat.  He even called it out to the woman plopping heaps of rice on plates one after the other in rapid fire assembly line fashion.

And guess what arrived.  Yes, you guessed it…nothing even remotely resembling a pig.  This grilled mess clucked in a former life and I steeled myself for the customary battle that always ensues with a piece of Vietnamese chicken.  The siege upon this gà nướng lasted just seconds though since just as we took our first bites, a large group of police and other assorted men descended upon the restaurant.  All sorts of melee and yelling ensued with the owners locked in a heated argument with the leader.  What’s the protocol here?  I mean, are you supposed to continue eating and ignore the police?  Do you do some sort of dine and dash without paying?  Should we just look down and mind our own business?

Police Hauling Away The Cart

The police kept pointing to the grill and rolling food cart occupying the sidewalk’s full width.  I found this odd as every business in Vietnam occupies the sidewalk for commerce rather than pedestrian passage.  Several guys began repossessing the food cart while the owners began moving the smoking grill inside the front area of the restaurant.  Several patrons fled and we were left sitting there wondering if we would be next to be tossed in the police pickup truck.

Why the local popo hauled the food cart away we will never know, but order was quickly restored to the universe as soon as they left.  Business went back to normal and we enjoyed the rest of our chicken as best we could dig into with a spoon and fork.  It was juicy and tender and hit the spot.  The oily green onion slices and crispy pork rind bits added some nice salt contrast to the chicken’s sweet marinade.  And best of all my friend is now a huge fan of the craziness that seems to percolate out in the streets.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

2 Comments on “Gà Nướng Grilled Chicken – 297 of 365”

  1. no
    September 22, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    The police there is nothing more than a bunch of crooks. I hate ’em. Last time I got pull over @ Cong Ly Bridge, had to bribe him 120000 dong.. But all & all, where can you get a cheap meal & a fantastic story to go w/ it… only in VN!!!

  2. October 2, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    By law, vendors cannot use any part of the sidewalk (sometimes street) as part of their business but for a right amount of money the law enforcers can keep their eyes closed (for a while until the surrounding locals start to complain).

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