Back down the local market scoping out new blood when I bump into crab girl. She has one of those nifty twin basket, over the shoulder numbers. She cruises the district looking for folk to ladle her soup out to. In one basket is a piping hot fusion of crabmeat, pork and quail eggs in a glutinous stock, Sup cua. The other contains a mish-mash of condiments and coriander. The wee plastic buckets in the middle contain takeaway plastic cups. A bit like a Starbucks drinks container, only transparent and sans straw. At 3,000VD it’s not a thriller and no filler, none the less it’s worth a gander if you bump into someone selling this globby broth.
Some of these soups can result in MSG OD, which gives a mild buzz up the spine. So long as you don’t suffer from the MSG headaches, it’s actually quite nice. Worse versions of this always appear as starters at Vietnamese weddings, that’s every single Vietnamese wedding. One note for overseas readers, Quail eggs are bargainsville in Vietnam. Loved by Chelsea toffs (probably?), they’re streetnosh in Saigon. The price did take a walk north with bird flu, but they’re around 4,000VD for 20 on the market. Smashin’ hard boiled with a salt/pepper combo side dip. Classy, yet common too – which is unusual in an egg.