Vietnam: Food Part 2
So this is one of the famous tourist restaurants in Saigon. I know that because a) this is the only place where I saw white people eating and b) that's what all the cabbies told us.
It's called Quan An Ngon. Quan An = Restaurant. Ngon = Delicious or Good. So, Good Restaurant or Delicious Restaurant is the literal translation.
There are two in Saigon, same owner. As you can see--beautiful French Colonial style building. And that little lady in front is Asian Grandma. Surprise!
Inside, at least a dozen different stands with attendants serving traditional street food, made to order. You can either go from stand to stand and point to what you want eat, or, if you're traveling with a squirmy 2 year old who wants to play in the fountain, you can simply sit and order from the menu.
This is a pork noodle station.
Here's sugarcane wrapped in ham ready to be grilled.
A dessert station. Those are not lima beans, that much I do know. But yes those are several types of gelatin cubes and a sugary syrup and yellow mung bean paste. I think the green and white things are coconut flakes.
Vietnamese desserts are something you appreciate more if you've grown up around them. Just ask The Good Doctor after my aunt has served him a giant mystery dough ball dunked in a gingery spiced syrup with mysterious black seeds floating in the liquid. He's such a good sport about it. "Mmm. Thanks! Oh what, oh no need for seconds. I'm stuffed. But that first bowl was great!"
One of my favorite breakfast meals, although you can eat it anytime, com tam. It's broken rice with grilled pork, nuoc mam and a few pickled veggies. This is com tam bi, which comes with those chewy pork strands dusted with some sort of toasty powder. The half yellow muffin is like a pork and cellophane rice noodle casserole. Except casseroles aren't technically part of Vietnamese cuisine.
And, one of the BEST drinks you will ever drink. Fresh. Squeezed. Strawberry. Juice. People inappropriately overuse periods for emphasis all. the. time. This was not one of those times. Supremely refreshing and perfectly sweet. The straw wrapped around the straw was a bit much but Emmy liked it.
Finally, some familiar faces enjoying themselves at the Good Restaurant.