Bò Cay Tứ Xuyên Szechuan Beef – 305 of 365

Bò Cay Tứ Xuyên

This lunch is definitely something we can blame on the rain since a sudden deluge drove us right indoors to the boring, sterile food court at Parksons.  How ironic.  Just minutes before the actual downpour started, a friend and I had walked past a clothing shop (of course selling fake designer goods) belting Milli Vanilli’s Blame It On The Rain out into the already overly boisterous street.  Maybe the Vietnamese haven’t gotten the memo yet that those guys were lip-synching frauds just like all these fake clothes.  Oh well, if they want to bump to this beat, I won’t hold it against them.  Yes, 2012 is the year the 1980s arrived in Vietnam.

We had planned on finding a meal somewhere on the fringes of edibility and common sense deep in the hidden recesses of Saigon.  Whatever possessed us to seek out culinary madness is beyond me, but perhaps this deluge was divine intervention at the most appropriate time saving us from stir fried intestines, stomachs, congealed blood or worse.

By this point I just wanted something to fill me up and tide me over until the more exotic crossed my path.  A food stall with a giant mural of colorful pictures drew me right in and I could sense the cash register girl was losing patience with my very slow decision making process.  Bò cay tứ xuyên finally won out.

This Szechuan beef turned out as close to Chinese food purveyed within the sterile confines of an American food court as I have ever tasted in Vietnam.  Sometimes the craving for a fix of crappy Chinese food washes over me, probably only because it just isn’t readily available in these parts.  We always seem to want what we can’t have don’t we?  Well lo and behold, I’ve finally found it.  Even the sizzling hot plate nestled in the wooden platter was a nice change from the usual styrofoam containers littering the typical food court scene.

Yeah, I will admit it.  I actually enjoyed this overly tough stir fry beef even though it was about as plain, benign, pedestrian and ordinary as a meal can come.  I know, I know…I should be shoveling delicacies like snake, chicken hearts, and stomach into my food hole.  Forgive me for taking a detour here.  Keep in mind though along this culinary journey I have dabbled in the grotesque every now and then such as chicken buttholes, and all I can say is sometimes a guy just needs something edible and predictable.

The sauce was a cross between tangy sweet and sour and spicy General Tso’s.  The large onion and bell pepper slices screamed mall Chinese food authenticity.  Admittedly, had I eaten this jewel in Des Moines, I’d have just thought it filled me up and did little more.  Then later on pangs of guilt would wash over me for eating such a nutritional void.  I’d then jog twice as far in some sort of penance for eating such a calorie laden heap of crap.  Over here though…over here it’s a different story when I find something that reminds me of back home.  Screw the diet…this one is going down the hatch!

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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