Archive for the 'Chuoi Nep Nuong' Category

Family Knows Best: Saigon’s Finest Bánh Mì, Glutinous Bananas, and Chicken Sticky Rice

Ba Sau and Di Loan

While I’ve shared quite a bit about my great aunt Bà Sáu (left) on the site [See: here, here, and here], I’ve yet to mention my awesome aunt Loan (right). She is Bà Sáu’s youngest daughter and has an encyclopedic knowledge of anything and everything worth eating in Saigon. From street food to fancy dining rooms, she’s my go-to source for local haunts worth seeking out.

On my trip to Vietnam this past September, she pointed me to her favorite spots for bánh mì, xôi gà (chicken sticky rice), and chuối nếp nướng (glutinous bananas). All three were smashingly good.

Banh Mi Huynh Hoa - Saigon

For the choicest banh mi in Saigon, my aunt sent me to Bánh Mì Huynh Hoa in District 1. The fluorescent lit storefront does brisk takeout business from four in the afternoon until late into the night.

According to my friend Lien, the establishment is run by a family of transgendered individuals, but truth be told, I hardly noticed when I stopped in. All I could focus on was making my way through the crowds and snagging a sandwich as soon as possible.

Banh Mi Huynh Hoa - Saigon

Every banh mi dac biet is made on a fresh and crisp baguette with a heady smear of pork pate and mayonnaise, slices of head cheese and ham, a tangle of pork floss, pickled vegetables, and deadly hot chilies. When taken all together, the flavors and textures meld, enhance one another, and seduce.

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Chuối Nếp Nướng

 

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The majority of the foods I’ve been eating in Vietnam were introduced to me by my family growing up. Recently, I’ve been making an extra-effort to try new delights for variety’s sake and to expand my Vietnamese food repertoire.

After reading a mouthwatering post about chuoi nep nuong on Noodlepie, I set out to find the treat in the streets of Saigon. It didn’t take long for me to locate a man serving it up on Yersin Street in District 1. The going rate for one banana was 3,000 VND.

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Chuoi nep nuong consists of gelatinous rice wrapped around a ripened finger banana and grilled to a golden hue. The grilled-up banana and rice combo are cut into small pieces and drenched with sweet coconut milk.

The gelatinous rice is chewy, crispy and sticky off the grill, while the bananas caramelize beautifully. The warm coconut milk ties together all the flavors and the result is totally fabulous.

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