October 19, 2007
Corner of Le Thanh Ton Street and Pasteur Street
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Xoi Man (5,000 VND)
Xoi Bap (4,000 VND)
Xoi Dau Xanh (4,000 VND)
Remember that little xoi obsession I mentioned earlier? Well, it’s alive and well. After reading a little feature on xoi last night in the Saigon Weekly, The Astronomer and I were inspired to seek out some this morning.
Our first stop was at the corner of Khanh Hoi Street and Ben Van Don Street in District 4. We’ve zoomed by this lady numerous times on our way to work and always wondered what she was dishing up. We ordered a box of xoi man, which she already had boxed up and ready to go. A few shakes of soy sauce and she handed it over—talk about fast food!
Then we zipped over to the corner of Le Thanh Ton Street and Pasteur Street in District 1 in search of an old telephone pole and an even older lady selling xoi (details mentioned in the Weekly article to help readers locate the exact site). She and her helper were selling two types of xoi this morning, dau xanh and bap. We ordered 4,000 VND worth of each. Both xoi were wrapped up in a single layer of banana leaf and two layers of phone book pages; sugar and spoon included.
Quite late for work at this point, we finally made our way to EMW and enjoyed our treasurers there.
First up, xoi man. Shredded chicken, fried egg bits, cha bong, cha lua, pate, and scallion oil were all present atop a mound of sticky rice. This was the first xoi man I’ve eaten featuring egg, which I really liked! I could eat this stuff all day long…
Second up, xoi bap. My grandma used to make this for breakfast when I was a kid and eating it this morning reminded me of her. Xoi bap consists of sticky rice with hominy, mung beans, crispy shallots, and lots of sugar. The hearty hominy and savory shallots reel in some of the sugary sweetness, keeping the xoi from tasting too dessert-like. The use of fresh hominy made for an all-around moister xoi.
And lastly, xoi dau xanh, which was topped with mung beans, fried shallots, and crushed sesame seeds. This version was a bit different from the one I had two weeks ago; the rice seemed stickier and didn’t contain coconut milk. Between the two xoi, my vote goes to xoi bap.
It’s lunchtime in Saigon and I’m not xoi‘d–out yet. You know what that means…
Debut piece in Time Out Vietnam.