The smallest stall on the market is run by one of the oldest sellers. Sympathy is what brings me to her banana barbie. Her neighbours have put the squeeze on her basement level banana grill. It fills a thin crack between a veggie vendor to her right and a heaving stall stuffed with fish sauce, mini bags of mam tom, packs of instant noodles, rounds of rice paper, jars of spices, pasta, grains and bowls of pickled cabbage to her left. However, she’s the only banana burner in the lane and the locals are bananas about her bananas. Most buyers ‘book’ their ‘nana before they go off and collect the day’s kitchen needs from the other stalls.
She sells Chuoi nuong (Raw grilled finger banana) 1,000VD and Chuoi nep nuong (Grilled finger banana wrapped in rice and banana leaf) 2-3000VD. The wrapped chaps on the right above are all booked solid throughout the morning. We have to settle for the cheaper standard burnt banana. It’s a sweet, soft, snack snip with a charred exterior and a warm core. Splendid.