I find this stall at 248 Hai Ba Trung street in District 1 just up the road from the Banh xeo restaurant and opposite a pink church. Let me just repeat that for the hard of hearing and/or disbelieving – that’s not slate grey or brick dust brown but a cheery pink church. The lady running this snazzy wooden mobile stall sells cock tai. No – that’s nothing to do with fowl, nor sex, nor cocktails a la uberwhackjob Tom Cruise. Well it nearly is, but it won’t get you drunk or turn you into a gibbering scientologist. Cock tai is an iced fruit drink/dessert hybrid. Kinda like a Saigonese Slush Puppy.
This stall owner uses an ingenious handcrafted ice shaving device to fashion a glass full of ice. Download the movie to see the Saigon ice shaving action from this stall. Her younger assistant splashes on a dose of neon red sickly sweet syrup and you choose what you want from the dried fruit selection stored in the jars at the front of the stall. There’s pineapple, jackfruit, banana, some wee sour prune type things (I think) and a number of other fruitarian delights I don’t know the name of.
You can choose to sit at the usual Gulliver’s kingdom table and chairs down a small alleyway behind the stall and sip as you marvel at the pink church opposite. That’s right, did I mention that there’s a pink church on Hai Ba Trung Street? The church matches the colour of the takeaway cock tai pictured above. This is the first time I’ve tried cock tai, and I’m not that impressed. It’s’ not terrible, it’s just cold, very cold. And it’s sweet, very sweet. That’s about it. Nothing wrong with that, just not my bag that’s all. There are a few more photographs from this stall on flickr.