If you’re foraging for streetscoff around Saigon and you’re into gooey nanas and grilled rice, keep ’em peeled for Chuoi nep nuong. Much like the sandwich the concept is bonkers simple. Cook rice, peel nana, wrap nana in rice, grill and serve. Warm fruity goo awaits scoffdom inside the charred rice case. Since the Earl of Sandwich’s brainwave during a gambling session in 1762, the sandwich has mutated big style. We now have (the classy) Marks & Spencers, (the retro) Breville and (the naff) Pret a Manger. Through it all, the humble Vietnamese nana ricewich remains unchanged. What no durian ricewich? Whither the mango noodle wrap? A matter of time maybe, but not for now.
The bitter burnt rice crisp cover combined with the stickier interior rice and the warm nana centre is a gargantuan gobfull – Well, it is if you try and hog down close to your loading bay limit first nibble – whoops. Ideal picnic fodder or ‘grab ‘n’ go’ scoff. It looks the business, it’s surprisingly filling and it’ll keep you going all morning. You’ll need to cough up 2,000 sobs to get a taste of this savoury fruit tease. This seller stalks central Saigon, specialises in Chuoi nep nuong, but also sells a small array of rice cakes.