One of the shabbier shacks in Saigon’s District 10 up along the gargantuan Cach Mang Thang Tham street is Mi Xao Don at number 527. It’s the sort of place you’d have great fun taking a Californian food hygienist and Asia-newbie to begin and end a case study of induced nervous breakdown. The joint could use a splash of Dettol and a slobber of paint, but, I’m assured this is the spot for a quality mi xao at a price that will leave you with enough change for some Immodium.
Mi xao is a fairly simple stir-fried noodle dish. I’m here to
grab a takeaway stir fried beef order (or is it buffalo? I’m still undecided). The mi are pre-deepfried and bagged up seperately cold. They’re crispy, crunchy, greasy, snacky, nicey. Meanwhile, the chef above flash fries the fuck out of some mustard greens, same deal with the strips of cattlemeat. Throw in a wee cup of stock and the streetside frying show is over in under one minute. 58.5 seconds actually. I timed it.
The crisp, greasy mi and the fresh greens make a decent wee combo, even if the end result is all a bit "So what?" The beef, buffalo or whatever it is, is not massively chewy, but chewy enough to involve a noticeable degree of jaw gymnastics. But, it’s cheap. It’s big. It fills and all in all I like. I think it was 10,000VD, there or thereabouts. Sod all, whatever. Here’s the menu.