Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Backdated post - Vietnam Part 4

Steetside vendors are a colourful affair in Vietnam. No one seems bothered by the amount of exhaust smoke being sprayed across their produce. Perhaps its much more practical, since their clientele can stop right in front, get what they want, pay money and then leave, all without getting off their scooters.. It's the 'Drive-up' mentality I'd say..

After gallivanting about all day, and having went so far we did not have a proper lunch, I had to return to one of these roadside shellfish places for dinner. The razor clams were fried with sweet basil and lots of garlic. H loved them, but they were a tad sweet for me.

These clams however, were the best things I'd ever had.. big, juicy and succulent. Steamed quickly, they still had milky clam juice in the shells. Didn't even need a dipping salt. I'm still fantasizing about them right now, months after the deed...

The damage... around I cannot remember now.. but it wasn't that expensive.

Iced green tea to wash it all down

Talk about sheer variety...

Backdated post - Vietnam Part 3

This has been a post long time coming, but being very busy with work and other aspects of my life, I never had the chance to do it till now, and I definitely need to apologise to all my readers. But since it is my blog and I'm back to putting it up I'm not going to use the magic words.

The first night in Ho Chi Minh City consisted of a trip to eat with some guys we met in the bus crossing the border. No pictures, but a beautiful bowl of noodle soup with chunks of duck and blood cakes. Those things were some of my favourite food when I was growing up. the dark purplish brown cakes in a hot soup... heaven.. Of course, all my compatriots did not appreciate it at all.. Ah well.. more for me!

The next morning it was imperative to have our first cups of vietnamese iced coffee. We followed our noses for breakfast. The wonderful scent of grilled meat filled the air. Asides from the ubiquitous pho breakfast, it seems that sweet marinated grilled pork chops with rice is another very popular breakfast. We followed our noses along the street until we came upon a genial looking old man who was grilling the said meat on an outside charcoal grill. His wife was decidedly less genial looking and ran the other part of the shop.

Having had a whiff of it, it's not hard to understand why it was an essential breakfast. What better way to start the day than with some tasty protein and carbohydrates?.. even my not-very-much-meat-eating travel partner (she usually does not even eat pork unless its been chopped into unidentifiable bits) insisted on having the full pork chop! Coffee came from across the street from a smiley lady in the standard floral print pyjama style matching day clothes most vietnamese women seem to sport.

For some reason however, I didn't feel like being suckered into such an easy meal. For some reason I expected more work in finding my first proper vietnamese meal.. thus I had some coffee while H had her pork chop. Then we wandered around the boroughs until I saw a stall with lots of people sitting by on a low tables slurping noodles. Braised beef noodles, the gravy sweet with carrots and thickened from the natural gelatin and collagen of braised beef bones and tendons. The chunks of tendon were not too big to be unmanageble and melted in your mouth. The vegetables balanced out the heady flavours. Really amazing and cherished to the last drop...After breakfast we walked around the Ben Thanh market and saw many many hawkers and vendors selling amazingly yummy looking things, but we were too full from breakfast. I got shooed away for taking some of these pictures. The Vietnamese are definitely not as friendly as the Cambodians.