Jet-lagged and thrilled, The Astronomer and I woke up at 4:45 in the morning on our first day in Saigon. Try as we might, we just couldn’t go back to sleep. Fortunately, our hotel began serving breakfast at 6:30, so we weren’t idle for too long. Our two choices for breakfast were chao trang (plain white porridge) or trung opla (eggs sunny side up). We both decided to have chao with orange juice.
The chao was served with dua muoi (salted daikon), salted peanuts, and salted hard-boiled eggs. I’ve eaten a lot of chao in my days, but never with these accouterments. In fact, The Astronomer and I had no clue the heaping pile of brown shredded stuff was daikon until we asked my aunts.
The mysterious daikon turned out to be the best accompaniment for the chao. The salted egg tasted too harsh, while the peanuts were unappealing. Not the tastiest breakfast I’ve ever had, but far from the worst. Properly fueled, The Astronomer set out to explore the streets of Saigon.