Jun 2008

Goat Breath

Once you go goat, you can’t ever go back. I swear.

My gig at AsiaLIFE has given me the opportunity to sample a lot of foods that I wouldn’t normally seek out. Our latest issue features a great piece about the joys of eating goat at 304 Le Van Sy Street in Tan Binh District. Even though I wasn’t assigned the article, I tagged along with the writer and the photographer during their visit to see what goat was all about. Plus, it’s not everyday one has the chance to sample a brand new meat!

Before I delve into the food, it must be stated that THE shortest stools in Saigon are at the goat palace. Although I didn’t whip out a tape measure, I’m pretty sure the distance between the floor and my bum was six inches max. My legs were so sore by the end of the meal.

Our first course of the evening was grilled goat with okra. The meat was sliced into thin slivers and marinated lightly. After dredging the meat with some vegetable oil, we placed the raw goat onto the grill. The first few pieces were a bit leathery because we cooked ’em for way too long. When it comes to goat, rare is best. Just 45 seconds on the grill yields tender morsels of meat. The texture of goat is very pork-like, which was deliciously familiar. A salty fermented tofu (chao) sauce pairs extremely well with this preparation.

Next, we tucked into an awesome goat curry served inside a clay pot, which turned out to be the best dish of the night. Hunks of potatoes, okra, eggplant and goat arrived submerged in a sweet, creamy, thick and slightly spicy curry broth. We sopped up the broth with many warm baguettes. The curry was so unbelievably good that the photog, writer and I made plans to return for more before finishing up the portion before us. What can I say? We’re a greedy group.

The final course of Goat Fest 2008 was rare goat salad accented with lemon leaves. I kind of over did it with the curry, so I was toast by the time this course arrived. The salad was really raw onion intensive, which doesn’t float my goat boat, but my dining companions scarfed it up with baguettes.

I had such a pleasant experience at 304 Le Van Sy that I returned a few weeks later with Hawk, Nina, The Astronomer and two visitors from New York.

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9 thoughts on “Goat Breath

  1. have you try grilled goat breast ? OR Goat hotpot ?
    Those two dishes are the best. I am a Goat (in Chinese Horoscope ) so i didn’t eat goat since i was a child. Then one day , my dad tricked me to eat it, now i love it.

  2. wow that sounds like a fantastic meal. I had goat once, in Jamaica, although I think it isn’t that hard to come by these days in the Bay Area. You make it all sounds so good except for the low stools…

  3. “Once you go goat, you can’t ever go back”; agree 100%. Duy is so right about grilled goat breast. I used to eat goat at Quan 18 (18 Dien Bien Phu, Q1, TPHCM), the goat curry there is the best in TPHCM. Wonder if it is still open?

  4. oh, we’ve been to that goat place on Le Van Sy before and I can totally vouche for the deliciousness of their lau de. Easily one of the best I’ve ever had. They’ve somehow done away with all the smelliness and gaminess that is typical of goat meat. Loved it!

  5. Duy – I’ve never had goat breast or hot pot. What is goat breast in Vietnamese? The Astronomer had goat hot pot once and said it wasn’t that great, but you and the other readers have piqued my interest.

    Foodhoe – Goat in the Bay? No way! I wonder if Alice Waters makes a seasonal goat…

    SnakeMonkey – I will investigate!

    WC – I love getting restaurants recs from you. Will add it to the extensive list!

    Kirk – the pictures don’t do goat justice 😉

    Anh – If the hotpot is half as good as the curry, I’d be a happy diner. Will indulge in goat hot pot soon!

  6. Please, please, please treat all animals with more respect. People eating goats should be as uncommon as people eating people. Killing living things just for the benefit of eating them is outrageous.

  7. Goat breast is also called “nầm dê” and yeah both the breast and the hot pot dish is really addictive. You can find them around Old Quarter in Hanoi.

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