Meanwhile… on the streets of downtown Saigon I head towards Thai Van Lung street in District 1. It’s a small street adjacent to an area locally known as ‘the ghetto’ – low rent expat digs – and it’s littered with restaurants. You’ll find Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, pizza, mediteranean, couple of nice restaurants called Skewers and La Casa Latina, a great Thai restaraunt called Chao Thai and a French restaurant called Le Jardin. There are also a few bars, a decent vegetable shop and at 9B you’ll find that well worn Vietnamese standard – a kebab shop. And it’s called, inventively enough, Arab Kebab.
As far as I know, this is one of only two kebab carcass spit style rotisseries in the whole of Vietnam – I could be wrong, but I’ll bet a solid 500 dong that I’m not. The other can be found at Arab Kebab’s second branch located in backpackersville at 115 Bui Vien street. The top half of the spit is loaded with chicken , the bottom with lamb. The menu offers lamb and chicken kebabs, beef mashwi, lamb kofta and falafel. All costing from 29,000VD to 46,000VD.
I order a lamb kebab and here it is. Quite unlike a Britstyle lardfest. This thing looks like it was endorsed by Weightwatchers. Not at all what I was expecting, but in a good way. It ain’t heavy, the meat is tender, the whole thing – well, both things – are unpretentious, nibblesome, a bit drippy – you’ll need napkins – and all round top quality tasty eating. There’s unflustered, budget seating inside and a tiny alfresco set up outside. What with the gorgeously warm, unhumid weather we’re having at the moment, alfresco is deffo the way to go.
There’s also a handy noticeboard on the counter advertising local services and events, which is nice. More snaps from Arab Kebab. Open till 2am – woah – late for Vietnam.