Jun 2008

Lunching in Binh Thanh District

When The Astronomer and I are noodled out, we cross the bridge to Binh Thanh District for lunch. Binh Thanh reminds us a lot of our home base in District 4, namely, helmets are totally optional and street food is abundant. Even though helmets are mandatory by law these days, as soon as motorbikes reach the halfway point on the bridge, everyone takes them off because there aren’t any traffic cops around. It always cracks us up how safety takes a backseat to fashion and comfort.

The banh xeo in Binh Thanh were larger and flimsier than the Da Nang-style ones that I prefer. But at 3,500 a go, we weren’t complaining. The Astronomer hates the large mustard leaves that are traditionally eaten with banh xeo and prefers romaine lettuce. I can go either way.

We also got an order or goi cuon. I firmly believe that hoisin sauce can either make or break this dish. This version was really watery, so it broke the dish (so to speak).

Our final course was banh bo nuong (5,000 VND)—a rice cake of sorts made on a waffle iron type device so that the sugar in the batter is caramelized and the texture is invitingly chewy. The Astronomer ate steamed banh bo stuffed inside a savory doughnut a few weeks back.

A lovely mini-food tour, but the lunch lady’s still where it’s at!

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4 thoughts on “Lunching in Binh Thanh District

  1. Fools, goi cuon is best eaten with Mam ruoc tom! Seriously! My wife won my heart with goi cuon, but her sauce is a mixture of the highly salty Mam ruoc, crushed pineapple, and a few other ingredients I’ll have to prevail upon her to reveal. The result is a hot, salty, sweet, spicy sauce that is shear paradise.

    Anyway, I’ll prevail upon her to at least name the basic ingredients.

    Love your blog! Keep up the good work.

  2. Madam Lirelou has weighed in. Her Mam Ruoc Tom is made with Mam Ruoc, lime juice, sliced hot peppers, garlic, lemon, sugar, and crushed pineapple. (I suspect that she also adds a dab of Hoisin) As she refuses to reveal the specific recipe (except to our daughter and daughters-in-law), I have to bow out now.

  3. Who you callin’ a fool? Truth of the matter is, mam ruoc tom with goi cuon is a bit much for me. I’m a hoisin girl through and through.

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