Friday, November 14, 2008

Bookend Meal at Quan An Ngon

One of the first meals we had in Vietnam, all those moons ago when we first visited, was at the Quan An Ngon in Hanoi.  Our first meal was probably at Pho24 - yeah, cliched, I know.  

So it's faintly appropriate that one of my last meals in Vietnam would take place at Quan An Ngon, this time in the HCMC location across from the Reunification Palace.

It's Saigon, so you gotta grab a Saigon Special beer.  And it's Saigon, so it's freaking hot and therefore I needed a side of iced green tea.  And you thought I was drinking my beer with ice.  And a straw.  Dude, I ain't that local.    

First up, you guessed it, banh cuon.

Next up, some grilled shrimp.  Seeing that I was eating alone, the waiter warned me that a single order was 10 skewers and asked if I really wanted it.  Of course!  Gluttony is best when left last.  

The dish came out with 12+ skewers.  This was some of the best grilled seafood I've had in this country, so I did the proper thing and finished it up.  

You can't often order snails, outside of Escargot at Les Halles or someplace like that, in the States, so I had to get some.  Strangely, they tasted like hard boiled eggs.  
To finish things up, I answered a curiosity of mine.  In the evenings till dark, food vendors on bicycles and carts would ply their offerings on the streets of Saigon.  One fare that I often see, and wonder about, is the "Bo Bia" carts.

My limited Vietnamese translates that to 'beef and beer,' which would be an interesting product to sell on the streets.  But I doubt that I was correct, so I never bothered to flag the vendors down and order some.

I saw "Bo Bia" on the menu here and had to finally know.  Turns out it's just a version of some spring rolls.  Then I recalled going to a spring roll dinner party in Hanoi, where the dry rice paper wrappers were in cellophane packaging labelled "Bo Bia."

So I knew it all along, but I forget things.  Coulda used The Google though. 

1 comment:

tmthuy said...

fyi, bo bia is rolls stuffed with cane sugar, coconut and black sesame :>