I’m increasingly suspicious of clean restaurants. Look at this place, at 11 Phung Khach Khoan in District 1. That sign has never been cleaned. Have a look inside. Those walls have never seen a bottle of Fairy liquid. The floor might get a sweep at the end of the day and the tables may see the wet end of a hose, but restaurants like this couldn’t give a steaming pile of horses turd about the decor. You’d do well to keep an eye out for these kinds of restaurants. The cooks are far too busy working the food to worry about motorbikes driving through the restaurant or some namby pamby foreigner freakin’ out over a bit of peeling paint, a rat and grubby signage.
This joint serves three dishes, bun nuoc leo, bo ne and bo kho. Bo kho is a thick, greasy lemongrass, star anise, five spice, ginger, tomato and fish sauce infused, slightly sweet beef stew. It comes filled with carrots, large hunks of surprisingly tender cow, topped with onion, basil and sawtooth coriander. It’s a breakfast only dish. It costs 17,000VD and it arrives with a warm baguette (for dunking), a plate of your-arse-will-hate-you-for-it chillies, lemon slices and a wee salt ‘n’ pepper mashup.
It’s aromatic. It’s meaty. It’s a very Vietnamese breakfast. Not exactly hot weather food. It would work well in bollocks cold Britain circa-October onwards. Although just how many Brits would choose this over cornflakes at the B&B I really don’t know. None? It’s a very fine all day breakfast, or the main attraction at a candlelit dinner IMO. Here’s a recipe. And here are some more pictures.