Asia’s top tucker is more often than not found on the streets. Swish restaurants have a crack at dressing up gutter grub, but you can’t take the street out of streetfood.
I picked me up some Banh goi in District 1 yesterday. This oriental take on a Cornish pasty – or is a Cornish pasty an anglo-saxon take on Banh goi… hmm? let’s assume they both evolved independently – is lighter than its Cornish cousin. Banh goi is an ideal nibbling companion as you grouse around the swanky shops of Saigon.
You can find this anytime-of-day snack all over town. Mine came served in an ingenious little snack pocket made of crumpled up magazine advertisement pages with a bag of sweet chili dipping sauce. They cost around 5,000VD a throw (US$1 = 15,700VD). The centre is filled with lightly spiced minced pork and onions. The pastry is fried to a thin crisp giving a satisfying crunchy-munch.
Admittedly I have never seen this deep-fried delicacy in any fancy Vietnamese diners. Maybe posh chefs have a heart after all. I mean, how could you eat this off a shiny plate with a knife and fork and a chilled glass of Chardonnay in front of you? Yuk – No thank you. Keep street food where it and you belong, in the gutter.