October 16, 2007
Corner of Dien Bien Phu Street and Nguyen Thuong Hien
District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Goi Vit – Duck Salad (45,000 VND)
Chao Vit – Duck Porridge (3,000 VND)
I thought for a split second about naming this post “What the Duck?” or “Duck Face,” but then I remembered that I’m an adult and not a foul-mouthed buffoon. So “Duck Two-Ways” it is.
The Astronomer has been hankering for duck these past few weeks, so we ducked under an awning specializing in everything vit for lunch the other afternoon. We ordered a plate of goi vit to share and each had a bowl of chao vit.
The huge bowls of chao vit contained congealed blood (AKA blood Jello), fresh bean sprouts, ground pepper and scallions.
I thought the chao vit was decent, but my grandmother’s version is SO much better. Whereas the flavors in grandma’s chao vit are clean and distinctly duck, the broth here was cloudy and not ducky enough. It’s really not fair to compare…
On the other hand, The Astronomer enjoyed his bowl of chao vit so much that he ordered another! So, the jury is clearly split over the chao vit.
The goi vit has thus far been the most expensive street food we’ve ever ordered. Large pieces of meat in Saigon come at a hefty price, and on this occasion, it was completely worth it.
A generous portion of boiled duck was chopped up and served atop a bed of greens dressed in a light vinaigrette. The ginger and fish sauce accompaniment brought out the duck’s subtle flavors.
For the most part, the food in Vietnam has been either on par or better than my family’s cooking. However, in the case of chao vit, I really yearned for grandma’s special touch.