Now that I’ve gotten over my stubborn “no meat in the morning” complex, breakfast options have gotten a bit more interesting. Whether it’s cold meatloaf from dinner the night before or plump-ass breakfast sausages, it just feels so right these days to dabble in some egg-less protein before noon. No worries, I haven’t abandoned my whole grain cereal friends.
On one of our final mornings in Saigon, The Astronomer and I hopped on the motorbike and sought out bo ne—Vietnamese steak ‘n’ eggs. There’s a famous bo ne joint named Nam Son in the city center where I’ve read one can order Australian beef, but we decided to stay in our beloved District 4 for a down home rendition. Plus, I’ve been running past this restaurant for the past year, and it was high time I pulled up a plastic stool and dug in.
The eatery’s dining room and kitchen are housed in one big sparse and cool room. The menu is written on a dry erase board that hangs on the bare concrete wall. The Astronomer and I ordered a portion of bo ne opla pate—sizzling steak with a sunny side up egg and smear of pate.
Our delectable plate of steak, eggs and pate was served hot-off-the-stove on a cow-shaped platter. There’s something grotesque, and yet humorous about eating cow upon cow. French fries, a side salad of iceberg, tomatoes and onions, and a toasted baguette were served on the side.
The slices of beef sautéed with onions tasted rich and satisfying thanks to the cook’s heavy hand with the butter. The bread was used as a vehicle for the steak, eggs and pate, and to sop up the grease bath that remained. Oh, Lord it was awesome. It was definitely one of those ‘so bad its good’ type of meals.
Just as we were finishing up our cow on cow, Hawkins called up, heard what we were downing, and told us he’d be right there. He had what we had and proclaimed it the best breakfast he’s eaten in the country.
And just in case you’re curious about the dish’s name, bo means “cow/beef,” while ne means “to dodge.” When the beef arrives on the sizzling platter, ‘tis best you dodge the greasy cracklings!