Beef and Green Bean Stir Fry – 308 of 365

Beef and Green Bean Stir Fry

Trying to pay rent here is an exercise in endurance that worked up my appetite.  All I wanted to do was deposit money into the landlords account.  Unlike every other landlord in Vietnam she prefers Vietnamese Dong over dollars.  I had some of the amount in dollars so of course I needed to buy a large amount of Dong with it.  Then I had to withdraw $400 from ATM $100 at a time due to the transaction limits and I prayed the money gods wouldn’t lock up my card for praying at their alter one time too many.

Now picture three transaction counters in a row with an office type chair in front of each.  The first teller typed the landlord’s information into her computer and out spat the results after three unsuccessful tries to print the form without it getting wadded up by the crappy printer.  Her neighbor stamped this official document but not before I moved over to her desk.  Then she handed it back to the first girl and I had to follow in this game of musical chairs though I was not touching any of the documents.  Then the first handed it all the way down to a third newcomer to this chaos where I relocated to exchange money.

Oh it’s not over yet.  I had to go back to the second girl to have the money counted and then she handed it back to the third girl.  Then the third sent the paperwork back to the first who didn’t even look at it, and I went along for the ride.  Then the second handed it to me, and I was finally on my way well towards the end of the proper lunchtime window.  The bank closed up behind me and it became lights out with everyone taking a nap.

What does this have to do with food?  Because I spent these tortuous 30 minutes at the bank trying to conduct a simple transaction, the choice selections at Café 91 had run out.  Vietnam is like this.  Once the food is gone, that’s all folks.   My late arrival just left some interesting looking fish floating in an oily sauce and some tiny kidney looking blobs sliced in half.   If the Vietnamese didn’t eat this stuff at noon when the stampede started, I sure as hell won’t eat it later on after the masses have departed.

Luckily about one final scoop remained of a rather innocuous looking beef and green bean stir fry.  Now I do realize this medley of cow and plant is hardly the sort of meal that puts Vietnam on the culinary map.  Indeed, it’s just a basic selection from a com binh dan joint meant to fill the masses for cheap.  And besides, it sure did look a whole lot better than the other few choices remaining.  Yes, I want to taste some of the weirdness out of curiosity, but my inherent westerness always seems to rule the day.

In the end I liked this one just fine and thought about how it would be right at home at Panda Express on Concourse E of the Atlanta airport.  Take some basic green beans, thinly sliced beef and give it all good shake in a greasy wok.  I am sure fish sauce makes an appearance in this one as I detected a slightly salty undertone.  What doesn’t go with fish sauce in this country?  When I move back to the US, I am sure my body will need a proper detoxification period to purge the remaining bits of this fermented fish juice from my veins.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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