One of the best parts of working at the Saigon Times is editing articles about various events going on around town. Last Thursday night, The Astronomer and I headed to a heavy metal show in District 1 that I learned about through my work at the paper.
The music was seriously terrible (see evidence below), but it was awesome seeing Vietnamese boys sporting long hair, drinking Heinekens and head-banging to the awful beat. They reminded me of my cousin Jimmy.
Prior to the show, The Astronomer and I wandered the streets surrounding the concert venue in search of dinner. I picked up a bánh mì thịt (7,000 VND) and a bánh giầy (3,000 VND).
The bánh mì thịt was smeared with pate, packed with cold cuts and topped with cucumber spears, cilantro and pickled carrots and daikon. The sandwich was decent, but a wee bit overpriced. I guess that’s what happens when I eat in District 1 with a white boy by my side. Sigh…
The bánh giầy was tiny in size, but mighty in the taste department. This is the first time that I have seen it sold street-side and even though I was already full, I just had to have one! In retrospect, I should have forgone the sandwich and had two or three bánh giầy instead.
Bánh giầy is a sticky number. It is comprised of a piece of cha (pork force meat) snuggled in between two circular cakes made with a combination of glutinous (bột nếp) and rice flour (bột gạo). The cakes are tasteless and doughy, but in a good way, while the cha brings salty and meaty goodness to the table. The bánh giầy are wrapped up in banana leaves to keep eaters’ fingers clean and to keep the individual cakes from adhering to one another.
Bánh giầy—think of them as Vietnamese Lunchables.