So, if I’m as busy as I say I am, then where do I find the time to grab food? The only sane answer is street food. Total time to walk up, indicate quantity, and leave with food is usually less than a minute. Best of all, each of these is 15,000 VND – less than $0.75.
Some of these are typical, and one is harder to find – all are tasty and fresh. I’ve showed you a couple before, but since I’ve been eating these for breakfast and brunch regularly for the last month, I thought I’d share a portion of my daily diet with you.
Sometimes I crave something “western” like pancakes, or chorizo with onions, cheese, and eggs on a flour tortilla (my favorite breakfast EVER), but I’ve grown used to the tastes and the complex balance that defines good vietnamese food.
This is one I’ve only had a couple times because it’s often out by the time I head out for breakfast on my break. It is Red Sticky Rice, topped with peanuts. It’s chewy and sweet. The red comes from the seeds of the gac fruit, or baby jackfruit, and the pits are left in the rice.
I’ve heard that street vendors will used a fake gac coloring and fake pits. I don’t know if this is fake or not, but since it’s not on my usual rotation I don’t really mind too much. It’s not my favorite dish, but it’s pretty good.
Here’s a great recipe for Xoi Gac.
This is my favorite sandwich stand in all of Saigon. I get this one at least two times a week.
As you can see it’s about a sixth of a huge pita-type bread. It’s roughly the size of a bigger piece of pizza. The bread is grilled on a panini maker for several seconds until it’s toasty hot and thin.
First the woman shaves off about 1/3 cup of meat (I think pork) from a spindle rotating by a grill, like in gyro restaurants. It’s a giant portion, normally, although the one I got looks like it’s buried under a bit of cabbage. On top of that she adds mayo, chili sauce, and cucumbers.
You don’t need a recipe for this – grab a toasted baguette or pita, fill it with roasted meat (usually slices of pork), shredded cabbage, cucumber, and sauces.
My second favorite is this rice dish. It’s pretty simple – fried rice with peas, carrots, cucumber, cilantro, and some shredded egg. Top the whole thing with some chili sauce and it’s good to go.
Modify this recipe by simply adding sliced cucumber and cilantro. Too good.
My old trusty standby. The dough is sweet and pillowy and the salty pork and eggs inside are a major energy boost before my second (or sometimes before my first) class of the day.
Unfortunately, my doctor has told me that they’re bad for my blood pressure – sigh, so old – and so I must limit these to Fridays, right before my most difficult class of the week.
Here’s an incredibly complicated-looking recipe for banh bao.