HECTIC, NOISY & DELICIOUS – IT’S ALL YOU NEED FOR STREET FOOD

admin - January 19, 2019

Bo la lot (grilled beef wrapped with wild betel leaf)

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Reasonable price with high quality are common things when it comes to Vietnamese traditional street food. But as I observed, the local atmosphere full of white aromatic smokeclouds.

Reasonable price with high quality are common things when it comes to Vietnamese traditional street food. But as I observed, the local atmosphere full of white aromatic smokeclouds and continuous urging call creates unique impressions, flavoring both your visual and taste.

Street food stalls can be hiden in any types of “architecture”: marketplace, small alleys, old apartments to even religous icons like church and pagoda.

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Lying in the city center, Ben Thanh Market is one of the most famous crowded places in Ho Chi Minh. From Gate 7, an old lady sitting in an exiguous stall are rushing her hands to deliver attractive plates of “banh beo Hue” (water fern cake). What I stand reflects the price they would charge, usually more than 30,000 VND (~2 USD) for one dish. And how this small but powerfull food stall here can still keep and attract more queuers lies in the secret of lovely, smooth and delicious of flavors of the food with the unbelievable price of 20,000 VND (lower than 1 USD).

Things get more sensational with immediate enjoyment on cracky stubby seats, together with your friends chatting rumors and LOL. In another sense, the queue gets longer and longer. Crowds are losting more and more patients. Some are irritatedly urging the skillful sitting woman to do their dishes. For some buying to eat at homes, the flavors of every fern cake blended with distinctive chunkier spicy fish sauces suddenly erase the moments of longed waiting before.

Far away from the centre, crossing through ancient townhouses and crazy influx of “monster” scooters on the street, let’s hang on the most reputed apartment with bunches of street tastes – Ngo Gia Tu Apartment. French architecture, degraded rooftops featuring cluttering hangers, but looking down to the ground, it is hard to imagine the galore atmosphere of uncountable stalls selling Vietnamese specialities. Right on the side with same distinguish features of low seats, messy stuff and small groups of waiting people, Che Mam Khanh Vy (Set of 16 Sweet Soups) steals your attention by servants sweating to deliver a tray on top with 16 different types of “che” (sweet soup). Far in the incessant noisy cloud appears the sounds of happiness and enjoyment, and the call of “wholesale sweet soup” tickling your ears.

Sweet soup is the main local food, which from the North to the South, the taste could in different sense. With a set of 16 soups, the owner of the stall feels like delivering the message to the crowd: get the whole “sweet soup” culture in Vietnam and taste like a true Vietnamese. A taste is full of people, full of gossips and covered in the hectic, most street-est atmosphere. A taste where one cannot fulfill his gluttony with 16 bowls and must need irresistible support from friends.

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To be continued…

Nguyễn Vũ

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