This is Philly’s Cheesesteak at 141 Bui Vien street in District 1. It’s straddles the turf between the brilliantly named "Happy Tour" and "Man and Woman Beauty" This part of Saigon goes large on dreadlocks, ‘eastern’ ankle tatoos, moneybelts and where a bottle of mineral water is THE essential year round fashion accessory. This street is also home to a string of western style eateries. We’ve previously covered the decent wee burger at Z’s a few blocks down the road – nice. Philly’s Cheesesteak has a limited menu and MTV. Ear bleedingly bloody loud MTV. Why? It’s not even educational. Which dickhead first thought of putting a TV in a restaurant anyhow? I dunno. Just what’s going on, ehh? Is it me? Is it an age thing? You know, you hit thirtysomething and start grumbling about pop music, nose piercings, slinky tops and visible midriffs. Actually, midriff’s are alright at any age. Although generally not in the UK, the US, Australia or Germany. I digress… There are two cheesesteaks on offer – "Mom’s makes" and "Dad’s Makes". Both come in a banh my and include "100g of thin sliced Rib eye steak with onions, green peppers and mushrooms." Dad’s comes with sauteed greens and mozzarella cheese. Mom’s comes with unsauteed veggies and Swiss cheese. Both come with crinkle cut fries and cost 39,000VD. Just over a quid. I order Mom’s, the healthy option.
Yum. Retro chips. Nice. Vietnam does do good chips, dunnit? The cheesesteak looks challenging. No mere nibble. I know I’ll be walking out of this place with a more UK-like midriff than I walked in with that’s for sure. Everything’s as it should be – beef’s lean, thin, cheese nicely melted, the whole deal is snug and warm. It’s just mighty tasteless, that’s all. I know, I know, "Use the bloody condiments, then." But, have you ever tried Vietnamese ketchup, chilli sauce or mustard? Have you? Well, once squirted forever…. never squirted again. Utter, total and complete crap in a plastic squeezy bottle. Top tip for restaurant owners in Vietnam: Use ONLY Heinz Tomato Ketchup, ONLY Colman’s English Mustard, ONLY a good Chilli sauce – sorry I don’t know the name of one offhand. Stop using this garbage. If you’re done with noodles, snails, uterus and eel, a Philly’s cheesesteak is enjoyable, but it’s purely for stodge mood moments. More photos.