Seeing how the Vietnamese kitchen interprets tough chewy chunks of beef with recipes supposedly from other lands is always a feast for the senses. While downtown with a friend on the hunt for the world’s tackiest souvenir, a brief shower of rain just about gave us the world’s biggest soaking. We ducked into Parksons Department Store to wait out this storm with no signs of immediately relenting.
Rather than sitting around staring at the rain from the cosmetics department by the door, we headed up the escalators to the food court. Why not put the time to good use and make a meal out of this? Besides, that window of opportunity for a proper street food meal was just about to close on us and we didn’t want to go hungry. And not to be mean here or anything, but it is quite amusing to watch people step on and off a department store escalator who are not quite used to this lazy means of floor to floor conveyence. Oh the little things that entertain me.
Standing boldly front and center in that food court is a Vietnamese joint advertising Chinese food with a Korean beef item, and of course I could not pass up such fusion cuisine. The wall mounted pictures all smacked of mall food court selections quite at home in Des Moines or Dallas. Yes, this was indeed going to be a most interesting taste explosion.
Even before my first bite, I knew what to expect since this is not my first time to the Vietnamese food rodeo. Of course the beef (I assume it was cow) was tough beyond belief. That poor cow. It gave its life so we could enjoy succulent slabs of its muscle, but this chewy stuff made a mockery of that animal’s untimely demise.
As I chewed and chewed and chewed and then chewed some more, I got to thinking where have I tasted this slightly sweet, slightly vinegary, slightly soy flavor before? This sure was quite distinct but something I’ve definitely tasted before. Yes, that’s it…Potato chips. You read correctly…Potato chips. The Alaska king crab flavor ones to be exact…Identical. Well, at least with the chips they are crunchy, chewable and digestible.
The sauce was great smeared all over the mound of rice and of course onions are hard to screw up. Try as I might though, I just couldn’t muster the energy needed to properly eat that beef. That’s ok though. We had set out on a mission to find tacky souvenirs. We may not have found what we initially intended, but at least we got a memorable yet tacky “Korean” style souvenir lunch out of it.