Some seriously heavy rain cooled the morning air and made a long walk quite pleasant. Well, I must say as pleasant as things can be dodging giant puddles and a sudden deluge of motorbike traffic that had been waiting out the storm. Imagine the flood gates being thrown open all of a sudden, and that is Saigon after a storm.
Sitting down at Quan 100 under a wall mounted fan gave me a great vantage point to watch the city pass on by. I suppose time has numbed my senses as to just how loud this city is, and for some reason this morning I couldn’t help but notice. A constant stream of putt-putting motorbikes honking to no end paraded on by and blended in with that incessant construction noise that fills Vietnam from one end to the other. People are constantly grinding, sawing, hammering and whatever else can possibly make noise.
Pointing to the wall menu is the only way I can order here as my accent and theirs do not mesh so well. That’s ok though. This system seems to work. Bún gạo thập cẩm sounded so exotic and all those accent marks and squiggles made me wonder what sort of delights were in store. Guinea pig? Cat? Perhaps some more chicken butts?
Other than a few slices of foolishness commonly called liver, what arrived was highly edible. A very normal sweet hu tieu broth formed the canvas upon which ingredients very much to my liking had been layered. Very thin rice vermicelli had such a nice al dente texture, and the meaty shrimp and thin slices of soft roast pork were fresh and flavorful. Even the ever so common hard boiled quail egg was appetizing for once. Dropping in a slice of birds eye chili pepper for just five seconds scorched the liquid nicely and gave it a little burn. These peppers are definitely a case of less is more.
Another day, another great meal. And best of all Saigon delivered a pretty amazing backdrop of flavors that meshed so well with this streetfood meal.