Flickr filth. Pure filth.
"Leafing through the menu on my first visit some time ago, I found that Kangaroo Cafe is much more than a big mug of coffee; the food is also tasty and varied. And in my two and a half years eating at this place since that first time, I have had the chance to try just about every dish on the menu, from tantalising Vietnamese stir fried vegetables and noodles, to the tender Vietnamese-style fried steak with dolphin-shaped mashed potatoes, to the thick and juicy Aussie burger, accompanied by a hearty salad with crisp, crunchy tomatoes, carrots and lettuce in a zesty vinaigrette and chunky potato chips peppered in sesame seeds," writes James W Coates in Vietnam News.
Disrupting media, exploding pardigms, the usual 9 to 5 stuff today. Paradigm exploders still need to eat though. For that, the Pho shack at 14/1 Ky Dong street in District 3, Saigon, Vietnam sufficed, but did not surprise. More here.
I’ve ummed and arrggghhhhed about this award. 2006 was going to be HP Sauce year, Irn Bru or my favourite Scottish fish n chip shop. Toss as I might, I couldn’t quite settle on a single winner. Being the decisive so and so I am, I decided to stick the award somewhere nearer home instead. The 2006 TasteEverything award goes to The Best Sandwich in Saigon and the stallholder at 37 Nguyen Trai street in District 1, Saigon, Vietnam. She serves weekdays only, from 5pm until the stall runs dry. I’ve tried many a sarnie in this mad megalopolis, but this particular specimen is undeniably the bread’s bollocks. Enjoy. I did. Burp.
I received this in the comments some two months ago. "Another sarnie tip-off. A woman sets up (after 5:30pm) a "banh mi thit nuong" stand. The thit nuong are like little grilled sausages. Plus, she throws on some bbq sauce. Best sandwiches I’ve had in Saigon. A real gem of a find." Upon reading the suggestion I grabbed a camera, snatched the nearest notebook, powered out of fortress pie, hailed a passing chariot and headed out in search of this "gem". A mere 64 days later I alight at this pavement stall at 37 Nguyen Trai street in District 1. I’m hungry, but zen. I’ve arrived. I grab the plushest, fur lined, plastic stool I can find and order.
And here it is. Banh mi thit nuong translates vaguely as a meatball sub (kinda). It’s 5,000VD. I’m a sucker for an electricity bill wrapped sarnie. Is it a internationally common cultural thing? Between the ages of 8 and 16 I was raised by bedouin tribes people who insisted on a strict intake of roughly 10% Fish n chips from the Hillmorton Fish Saloon on Featherbed Lane, Rugby in the UK. Used to have to queue down the street to get in there at dinner time. Fish n chips, like banh mi, come wrapped in paper. Normally newspaper; The Sun, The Mirror, maybe the local rag. Never The Telegraph, Times or Guardian. Why? It’s an interesting intercultural phenomenon – this paper wrap business – what paper is used, where, is the crossword already completed? or soaked in vinegar?
One banh mi thit nuong takes less than a minute to assemble in the construction bay. Inside the baguette it’s warm, snug and saucy. It’s filled with wee charcoal grilled pork patties, pickled carrots, radish, fresh slices of cucumber, some chopped spring onion, fresh coriander and a dash of hot sauce. I’ve yet to install the sniffablog plug in on this blog, but when I do, you’ll receive beams of steamy hot sweet, meat soaked vapours direct to your desktop. It’s seductively warm, a harlot of a hoagie. It has a confident aroma. The smell of a successful sarnie.
I hope the satellite imagery above will help you navigate the terrain. Shame you can’t do a Google Earth and zoom in, crashland in amongst that arty sprawl of scoff, just wallow in it for a bit… Oh well. Technology – marvellous innit – has it’s limits though. And so for now, you’re just going to have take my word for it. This is the best sandwich I have ever had in Saigon. Thank you NoStar Where. I may be slow. But you were not wrong. More snaps.
It’s an unbelievable hassle trying to buy this stuff from Vietnam or anywhere else a bit too foreign by the sound of things. Last time I was in the UK I stocked up. I just ran out. It appears that the Skype security settings freak out when they see you have a UK credit card, but you’re in Vietnam. Same deal with PayPal.
I’m not prone to begging, but if you have €10 or €20 spare and you use SkypeOut and "have
made several SkypeOut calls over a period of at least 3 months and not
have any fraudulent transactions recorded for your Skype Name." Could you possibly buy me some credit?
My Skype name is noodlepie. If anyone is kind enough to help out I promise to fire off a bag of Vietnam goodies, so long as you furnish me with your mailing address in an email. You can buy SkypeOut Gift Certificates here.
UPDATE: Thanks to Chris in San Diego. I’m all set 😉 All within an hour. Marvellous.
In case your wondering why I’m not asking real life friends and family to do this for me it’s because they’re still getting to grips with clockwork technology, fossil fuels and the video recorder. In a word – hopeless.
Joe DiStefano over at Slashfood rates the banh my served at 5 Ninth in West Village New York City as ‘perfect’ – no shit?
"The bánh mì itself was perfect. The crisp baguette shattered, a perfect foil to the roast pork and creamy sweet mayonnaise. The only downside of 5 Ninth’s sandwich was the price. At $12, it’s not cheap, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay to my end my search for a top-notch Vietnamese sandwich." Slashfood.
$12 is roughly 188,000 dong in old money. If you’re not good with conversion rates, trust me, we’re in big dong territory. While Joe’s picture (see above) looks well tasty, I’ll wager there’s better butties on the streets of this fair town. A Saigon side banh my is about 30 cents or 5,000 dong. Therefore…. 188,000/5,000 = 37.6…. 5 Ninth’s sarnie is almost 40 times more expensive than the Saigon equivalent. Hmmm… I’m just imagining forty Saigon banh my sitting there next to Joe’s one? It’s quite a powerful image.
As a sidenote to my post about Vietnam’s tiet canh (blood soup). You might want to blast through loupiote’s 9 photo Flickr slideshow of blood soup. Fanastic snaps. Really bloody appetizing. Photo on the left is brilliant and by loupiote not me.
Linkfest extra: There’s a Flickr "Don’t eat that" photopool. New one on me. I will explore. Yum.
"Vietnam is unfortunately not without a profusion of restaurants suffering the common inverse relationship between the trendiness of surroundings and the quality of food, practically the modus vivendi of any ‘happening’ city. Wild Lotus promises to deliver ‘the best of modern Vietnamese and other Asian cuisine with a subtle infusion of Occidental culture’, and it delivers on the pledge. Guests can expect a luxuriant evening of superb food and wine, proving Wild Lotus has managed to buck the trend and deliver superb food in a laid-back lounge atmosphere, without waitstaff seemingly poised to catch falling chopsticks," writes Johny Shaw in The Vietnam News.
I’ve been subscribing to the excellent free Intellasia News Highlights of Vietnam email newsletter for a long time now. It’s a great way of checking out the local goss’ if you can’t read the local lingo. Today’s sample is fairly representative of what comes through on a daily basis,
The Gary Glitter tragi-soap opera
Then there are all the bits I don’t read, Economy, Industry & investment, Finance & banking, Government & legal. It’s well worth signing up for if all you want is a quick daily scan of the news from Vietnam.
Two shuffles of a water buffalo’s backside over the border in Cambodia, finds the excellent Phnomemon wading through the burger scene of the capital, Phnom Penh. I’m still recovering from part 1 of my Saigon round up. Part 2 is tentatively planned for the coming months. Whither the Hanoi round up Sticky? Laos would be nice too. Anyone know of any bloggers in Laos?
In regional blog news, long time noodlepie reader and commenter Matt emails to tell me he’s just started an all you need to know blog about "Vietnam property, business, investment…& some of the fun things too." called Target: Vietnam. As I’m sure Matt can tell you, the housing market is booming in Vietnam (where the hell is all the filthy lucre coming from :O) If there’s money in houses, maybe there’s money in blogs about houses? Bon chance.