Once you go goat, you can’t ever go back. I swear.
My gig at AsiaLIFE has given me the opportunity to sample a lot of foods that I wouldn’t normally seek out. Our latest issue features a great piece about the joys of eating goat at 304 Le Van Sy Street in Tan Binh District. Even though I wasn’t assigned the article, I tagged along with the writer and the photographer during their visit to see what goat was all about. Plus, it’s not everyday one has the chance to sample a brand new meat!
Before I delve into the food, it must be stated that THE shortest stools in Saigon are at the goat palace. Although I didn’t whip out a tape measure, I’m pretty sure the distance between the floor and my bum was six inches max. My legs were so sore by the end of the meal.
Our first course of the evening was grilled goat with okra. The meat was sliced into thin slivers and marinated lightly. After dredging the meat with some vegetable oil, we placed the raw goat onto the grill. The first few pieces were a bit leathery because we cooked ’em for way too long. When it comes to goat, rare is best. Just 45 seconds on the grill yields tender morsels of meat. The texture of goat is very pork-like, which was deliciously familiar. A salty fermented tofu (chao) sauce pairs extremely well with this preparation.
Next, we tucked into an awesome goat curry served inside a clay pot, which turned out to be the best dish of the night. Hunks of potatoes, okra, eggplant and goat arrived submerged in a sweet, creamy, thick and slightly spicy curry broth. We sopped up the broth with many warm baguettes. The curry was so unbelievably good that the photog, writer and I made plans to return for more before finishing up the portion before us. What can I say? We’re a greedy group.
The final course of Goat Fest 2008 was rare goat salad accented with lemon leaves. I kind of over did it with the curry, so I was toast by the time this course arrived. The salad was really raw onion intensive, which doesn’t float my goat boat, but my dining companions scarfed it up with baguettes.
I had such a pleasant experience at 304 Le Van Sy that I returned a few weeks later with Hawk, Nina, The Astronomer and two visitors from New York.