You’ve got to let some things go when you travel, especially in developing countries. I learned this lesson during my first street food session. Yup, I said first because I’m doing this again.
Street food is cheap and, in many cases, quite delicious. Pho was on the menu this time, and I always enjoy this dish. Pho here tastes different, though. The ingredients taste a little lighter, less oily, and the fish sauce tastes COMPLETELY different. From what I was told, in the U.S., we eat fish sauce from Thailand. Vietnamese fish sauce is not as strong, and I want to put it on EVERYTHING.
How hard would it be to take food home? Probably really difficult, huh?
The place we went was called Quan An Phuc Loc. It doesn’t exist. I would never have been able to find it on my own. It was down some alley, past some stalls with artwork everywhere, and then once we passed the old men playing some tile game, we stumbled upon a few tables. You sit right up against your neighbors because, as I learned in Vietnam, the word ‘personal space’ doesn’t exist. Make Friends With Everyone!!
Most street food places sell one type of dish. Here, we had vermicelli noodles with spring rolls and beef. Underneath was a bunch of vegetables and peanuts. Very typical dish, but the ingredients tasted fresh, and it came out fast!
In under 5 minutes, fast!
There was no separation from the kitchen, there were no walls, this is food, in its simplest and yummiest. After this, we headed to L’usine, a coffee/cafe started by a friend of my boss. The French-influenced, Vietnamese twist on coffee left me quite buzzed. One side is a cute cafeteria-style dining room, and in the other, a trendy art/clothing shop. And yet in another area is the coffee/cafe with cupcakes that were too die for! (YES…I always have room for cupcakes).
I had some strong coffee and chased that with a red velvet cupcake. The heat was starting to get to me now, and I was craving water. Since when do I drink water? Apparently, since I arrived in Vietnam. If you don’t carry water with you, it’s so easy to get dehydrated. From there, I walked around the neighborhood and then made my way back to work. A more extended lunch than I’m used to and definitely much warmer, but friendly nevertheless.