Bò Sốt Cay Hong Kong Spicy Beef – 340 of 365

Hong Kong Beef

The game plan was simple.  I’d undertake one of my long megawalks and search out the latest and greatest in street food.  I’d then drop a pin in a Google map on my Iphone and send the location to a friend who’d then meet me.  Well, even the best laid plans sometimes go awry, and somewhere within the first thirty minutes on foot, Vietnam managed to step on my last nerve.

Tiring of kamikaze motorbike drivers invading the sidewalk with their trademark abysmal driving skills, suspect smelling liquids on the pavement everywhere, sidewalks blocked by pushcarts, and vendors sprawled everywhere I wanted to pass, I just waived the white flag of surrender.  I sought refuge within the westernized walls of Diamond Department Store.  Up I went several escalator flights and entered a world away from Saigon’s manic streetscape.  Cheesy Muzak instrumentals of Elton John replaced the constant din of honking and motorbikes.  I felt like a fish out of water suddenly and actually yearned to be part of the chaos once again.

Nonetheless, I dropped the pin, sent the email and my friend responded by calling to ask if the map was messed up.  No, nothing is wrong…just come on down to the food court!  The air conditioned clean food court with adult size furniture was actually a pleasant break from traffic noise, squat stools, heat, humidity and dirt.  But I will admit feeling somewhat guilty for committing food blasphemy by forsaking the wild wild west of the street food scene for this meal in the most sanitized of environs.

The Hong Kong style beef filled me up, but left me longing for something a bit more authentic.  The sauce was fine, not too sweet but really not spicy enough.  The beef was the usual tough slices culled from what I prayed was indeed a cow.  The stir fried cabbage with some sort of hoisin sauce was decent, too.

Every once in a while dabbling in the more western side of Saigon is a nice change, but I miss the streets already.  Back I go pounding the pavement for my next meal.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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