Looks like a down at heel hotdog stand, but it isn’t. This mobile marvel is just one of a squillion trundling the ‘burbs at breakfast time. The nifty stall side writing is there to guide the clueless (me). I’m convinced there’s a Ministry of mobile stall sign writers somewhere in Saigon. Every one of these guys uses the exact same font to advertise their wares, but I’m buggered if I can find it on my Mac or at fontsrus.com.
When you start getting morning pangs for Chao long huyet you either are Vietnamese or you’ve been in Vietnam too long. Chao is a scrummy savoury rice porridge. You cook the crap out of the rice so it ends up as baby mush. We’ve ingested a couple of versions before, chao trang (rice porridge solo) and chao luon (rice porridge with eel). Hell I even had a crack at making an eel chao once. This version is different. Long means ‘innards, parts and carcass garbage’ – intestine, stomach, uterus, you know… the good stuff. Huyet is blood, pig’s blood I believe, congealed into an industrial brick. We’ve also seen it before in Bun rieu.
I find this stall holder pounding his way up a District 10 back passage. He displays his parts in the lower section of the glass cabinet on the left. I like the look of his intestines and pull up for a closer inspection. Above the innards tray we have quai, a fried breadstick, which we covered way, way back.
The chao pot comes with the regulation grubby tea towel come burn proof lid holder. Surrounding the main action we have bowls, cutlery and some spring onion garnish. I’m here for a takeaway score and the vendor opens up the main attraction to see if he can tempt me with what he has hidden under the hood.
The picture above is a bit crap, but it’s not out of focus and has not been tampered with. In a possible first for the Internet, what you are seeing is chao fog. It’s about the only fog you’re ever likely to see in the south of Vietnam and it smells scofftastic. I quickly score a two bag deal and a couple of quai and hustle back to Pieman towers to take my hit. It’s very good chao, made with a corkin’ pork stock and a generous helping of blood chunks. Sling in a few quai and you’ve got a premium quality brekkie on your hands.
The idea of parts porridge at 8am probably doesn’t appeal to the majority of noodlepie’s readership, which according to my statcounter consists of three foodies in Frankfurt, a moggy in Manchester and one very scared dog in a cage in Vinh. However, I strongly recommend you give it a go. It tastes better than it sounds and at 3,000VD a pop even my poorest and most endangered Vinh based reader could afford it. At today’s exchange rate, 3,000VD is precisely £NAFF. ALL or in US dollars $SOD.ALL. Don’t be put off by the stall’s retro look. The food’s fresh, healthy and pipin’ hot.