Vietnamese Motherly Love

Let visit Vietnam and let experience with the local people and let understand the mother love.

Her mother was blind; her husband died when he was young; her daughter is paralytic; the second son is disable; the eldest son died because of the cancer; the youngest son is unemployment because of weakness health; the daughter-in-law has congenital heart disease …They are only part of cruel misfortunes on the live of 88-year-old woman. But through them all, she remains resilient living, living for her children.

There has an old lady 88 years old who still sell some Vietnamese tea on the corner of Bao Khanh street- Hoan Kiem district during 30 years, hard working to earn for living and raising their disable sons.

Part of the miserable live with the local tea-shop

Nearly 30 years, from the war until now, on Bao Khanh street (opposite Hoan Kiem Lake), there is a faithful lady with old Vietnamese tea-shop daily to strenuous attempt earning for herself and his family.

People who regularly cross the street are too familiar with image of white-haired, opaque eyes of the old woman. She is Mrs. Phan Thi Yen. Having 30 years on this street, she has still sit between the 2 electronic pillars in the corner of street with a tea shop.  We called it is shop, but in fact, her shop has only one obsolete hand basket  with some Vietnamese tea, some cigarettes, two or three bottles of water, some peanut candy packs. I called her for a cup of water, she muttered: “It is too late now, do you still drink? I am going to move it…” I was surprised because it was only 3 p.m, I was going to ask but the woman who sitting besides gave fast signal and said softly: “She is blind, so if nobody tell her about the time she does not know it is soon or late “. Disclosure of this woman startled me. At this time, the old woman was looking for the teapot and pouring a cup of water to give me meticulously. Her hand was trembling…

Mrs. Yen is an original Hanoian, now she is 88 years old. Her mother was blind and died when she was young. Her farther remarried and she moved to live with her grandparents. Until his grandmother died, she worked as home help and she married at 20 years old and had 4 children. But the misfortunes continued to strike her family when her daughter suddenly got disease and her husband died.

She cried when talked about the family situation and his daughter. Now her daughter is 63 years old but only lying on bed. This motherly love is the motivation for her to hard working and bringing up her daughter. She does not want to come to old people rest home because there will be no one to take care her daughter. She must earn money to raise her daughter and buy medicals for her.

Everyday, she walks from the house and go to the shop until her eyes can not see, she must to hire a motorbike go to the shop from early in the morning to the completely dark in the evening all sunny or rainy days. She has no money to reserve the inventory. Sometimes, she asked a neighbor for a few runs to the end of street dealer shops to buy something when the products were empty.

Ms. Dung, an old friend of Mrs. Yen (her house is in Bao Khanh street), regularly to help her to sell products – said: “She does not go everywhere. She loved her daughter so much … I had known her for a long time. She survives until now because of her daughter”.

Stories of Mrs. Yen families are more lamentable than I thought. She was four children. Her daughter has been paralyzed for many years. The oldest son died because of cancer. Her daughter-in-law has congenital heart disease.

The second son who is a water company‘s worker, but unfortunately he was weighed by a broken water pipe that leading to disability.  The youngest son is unemployment because of the poor health.

With this small shop, Mrs. Yen must to earn money and support their children. She pays only 2,000VND for the lunch and her dinner is the bread.  With her, this is enough. Occasionally, there is a person who is love her and give her from 50 to 100,000 VND for buying medicals for her daughter, she is crying sob violently without uttering words.

When the night is come, she moves to the chair on the Hoan Kiem lakeshore that is opposite to Bao Khanh street until 11p.m. Her shop seems unchanged for 30 years. It has only one thing to change is the more thin and more austere of the old woman.

November 11, 2010 at 8:05 am 1 comment

Hanoi food culture past and present Cuisine HN

Cooking and enjoying food is an art of Hanoi, not the world that until now it still exists habits and become their own unique culture, appealing to anyone when the new set come to this place.

The exquisite cuisine in Hanoi reflected in the way of processing, how to enjoy the right way, at heart, who accepted the award. Each have the Hanoi food flavor, its own beauty, and especially with traditions, ways of life to enjoy TV, but it did so not only are the common food that was raised to the culinary arts .. .

Ho Tay snail noodles – Phap Van (Thanh Tri)

We found a small restaurant in Phu Dong Thien Vuong Street, which many gourmets, this is the kind of delicious noodles and rare snails in Hanoi now. Previously referred to Hanoi noodle buildings immediately to the two people remember the famous West Lake Village and Phap Van – Thanh Tri. Ms. Hoa selling noodles here are native French snails van. Her mother bun burden over 40 years of real estate vendors, after handing back to her. She found a familiar address of many buildings in Hanoi for the noodles to taste it from the presentation were very … Hanoi. Ms. Hoa told us:”I’m very proud of maintaining the definition of old buildings noodles. In Hanoi alone now I found cool water snails to sell noodles like the old days on end.” In the past, Hanoi or bottle but now they eat the snails eat pho noodle like chan, but many people still like to eat gourmet noodle dots.

Bun oc from morning to eat only lunch and dinner do not eat the bun Hanoi buildings, other than pho. Bun oc must first delicious taste of spicy and sour peppers, the wine suddenly. Bun buildings are 2-3 ways to eat: can chan, can stop, can be eaten hot or cold food. Bun oc does not change much as the other dishes Hanoi: still a typical pepper, perilla is. Nothing should perilla and pepper snails represents as much as noodles. The soup is very nice building in Hanoi as it represents red peppers, purple perilla and strands of white rice noodles …

Xoi – Sticky rice

Hanoi has nobody who is not ever enjoy sticky once, have to say that Hanoi has flung a particular taste that did not match any away elsewhere. Early morning cool weather also, after a peaceful sleep, quiet comfort people, you ever think that enjoying a bowl of sticky rice in the morning is not the best way to relax? Hanoi, or who have a habit like that, simple, rustic and tranquil know how much.

Each kind of sticky with a different taste and are eaten with other foods. Such as white sticky rice served with the procession, the ship store meat, spring rolls, sausages boned aromatic, medium soft. Gac sweet sticky rice is eaten with fat ball. Sticky rice and peanuts, served with sticky rice and green beans with sesame and procession. Also slanted away, make sure to have more green beans and thinly sliced on the non-aromatic bowl with yellow flesh …

In fact, the cooking is not too difficult khǎn away and regardless of who is cooking well. Such as sticky rice and green beans to cook, just pick flowers yellow sticky rice, soak rice and green beans from the night before, leave it overnight to soften. Then, wash the rice, beans treated carefully stir. To add a little salt, and the suspension of rice, beans and then pour into the map until the rice and beans in plastic hatch is sprung. For sticky rice and peanuts, have slightly different cooking methods. People who cook have cooked before the soft touch, then shelled peanut and mixed with glutinous rice, mixed with salt and pour into the map … Gac own sticky instead of salt, the cook need add sugar. In these types of sticky rice, sticky rice cooked slanted considered the most difficult. Once cooked sticky rice, sticky rice tillers who have until cooked, let cool and mix with cooked green beans. Time to eat sticky rice, sliced thin to grasp was steamed green beans, add water a little fat, the golden pineapple over it. Meanwhile, slanted bowl of sticky rice will get the sweet taste of rice, the dust of green beans, water and the fat of the fat of the non-aromatic, delicious food.

Eel Noodle

Today, the processing of sorghum and enjoy eel was different from the old lot. Hanoi ancient  eels noodles are coming into a small bowl, bowl often extracted love (kind of buried small bowl, bell) only larger bowl mouth ǎn bowl of rice a bit. Vermicelli in boiling water wash was bare, bare back to the pot of water to be used eel for sorghum hatched brown brown, dark red carpets, fresh water and place in bowl. The meat was fried eel hunt again, but still display the skin color of yellow eels. Executive chopped laksa leaves and flowers attempts – often move before the bowl to keep the aroma, the ram state as small as fragrance more details. Sprinkle the chopped up meat ram then chan eel soup. Eel broth brown sweet brown above normal, due to the emerging dense, dark tails, not only chan chan hammock because sorghum was soaked with water it enough so no more swelling, moreover, is vermicelli vermicelli ship made from green bean thread vermicelli so small that crisp but not crushed. Finally sprinkle pepper. Own criteria, she found the idea very room, she did not have any spicy pepper mill that uses a touch teaspoons pepper retired borders.

Myanmar seepage flowing with water, fried eel meat eating hunters are quite clear plastic eels, are soaked in flavor and smell so fragrant smell pepper fish sauce is very attractive. Eel vermicelli bowls, to eat the last piece is still hot. Hanoi old seems colder now. Eel vermicelli dish attractive every season, but in the cold winter day more attractive. Because cold to many, concrete bowl vermicelli eel fragrant, hot to cold is forget all smooth. Myanmar does not always draw on a large bowl, do not come with bean sprouts and shallots non, non sagging chan eel broth Where did smell like now, and especially not breaded fried eel meat dry and crisp to eat curve scouts do not know the eel or a donut or something arises because it is difficult to distinguish, it is difficult to see clearly, difficult to confirm the taste.

Do not understand why gift eel vermicelli Hanoi now that? … By lost? Due to the new taste? Do not pay attention to the Hanoi food before? What a pity when the bar is no longer part of Hanoi old sorghum eel again.

Pho Hanoi

Hanoi mention gifts can not speak to the noodles. Hanoi appears from the early 20th century with names Thin noodles, pho Giang, Deputy Eastern U.S. sales burden. Today, shops can be found quite good in Bo Ho, Bat Dan, Ly Quoc Su, Lo. Thin keep his own beef noodle is more than 50 years, and expanded to seven stores in Hanoi. Hanoi people now eat chicken noodle soup, but in many gourmet beef noodle cooked just right is the new Hanoi.

Tape Paint writer once said: I agree with Nguyen Tuan detail, but I’m the next generation of Hanoi pho beef noodle soup is cooked. Sliced beef cooked fragrant, delicious. Eat noodle prices, with counters or with eggs as many people are eating now. Pho is a very important spice. In ancient times, the burden of pho, the city park at the top end of town has the smell of fragrant pho broth famous …

Banh cuon Thanh Tri

60 years from now, those who love Thanh Tri-rolls are not swimming in too far. With a small corner Hien Thanh Street, with the idyllic meters, every morning she Heng attract countless visitors. Only with the 2000 contract, you can enjoy banh cuon Thanh Tri food coated with thin ball, second ball found a dry powder as much now. Heng her family life was coated rolls 5-6, and now she’s her daughter again.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh – her daughter-Heng: Rinse well and thin rolls must know and car wheel grinding. Vehicles must be smart, slow vehicles are more likely to tear bread, fast cars, they may be too brittle or too thick.

The refined cuisine is also reflected in the meals for each family in Hanoi. Family meals of Hanoi take a personal style: from the present set trays, bowls clean chopsticks, dishes achievements, not expensive but simple to spectacular displays elegance and nobility.

Within the market economy, Hanoi cuisine was greatly simplified, hopefully the younger generation today is more conscious in preserving the beauty, the sound of people eating in order Trang An old.


November 11, 2010 at 7:25 am Leave a comment

Hà Giang qua con mắt du khách nước ngoài

Mùa xuân và mùa thu là thời điểm thích hợp nhất để du lịch tới Hà Giang, một vùng đất phía bắc Hà Nội – thời tiết ôn hòa và thường trong xanh.

Dưới đây là hình ảnh chuyến hành trình tới Hà Giang của một du khách nước ngoài.
Du khách tới Hà Giang được khuyên đi xe khách trực tiếp từ Hà Nội.
Con đường từ Đồng Văn tới Mèo Vạc băng qua nhiều đồi núi và những ruộng lúa bậc thang.
Tại vùng đất khô cằn này, những người dân vất vả trong việc trồng trọt, gieo cấy.
Một cánh đồng gần Đồng Văn.
Đồng Văn là thị trấn nằm cách biên giới Trung Quốc chưa tới 3 km.
Một khu chợ ở làng Sà Phìn đông đúc người bán hàng từ các nơi tới bán gia súc, rượu bia, vải vóc sặc sỡ và các đồ dùng gia đình.
Những mảnh vải nhiều màu sắc được bày bán tại Sà Phìn.
Một cụ lão bán rau tại chợ Sà Phìn.
Bên trong lâu đài của “Vua Mèo” Vương Chính Đức. Một thầy bói nói với Vương Chính Đức rằng xây một lâu đài trên ngọn đồi hình mai rùa gần Sà Phìn sẽ giúp dòng họ của ông trị vì mãi mãi. (Giờ nó trở thành một bảo tàng).
Một nhóm đàn ông ngồi uống bia trong những chiếc bát tại chợ Sà Phìn.
Quán cà phê Phố Cổ ở Đồng Văn là một ngôi nhà cổ trăm tuổi được tân trang lại để kinh doanh.
Một trò chơi giải trí cho thanh niên ở Sà Phìn.

Song Minh (theo New York Times)

November 11, 2010 at 7:13 am Leave a comment

Ethnic minority village in Mai Chau

VietNamNet Bridge – The villages of Lac and Van are home to many ethnic minority groups in Mai Chau, the northern mountainous province of Hoa Binh. The villages are attractive destinations for tourists.

An old house-on-stilts in Van Village.

Mai Chau is home to seven ethnic minority groups, mainly Thai and Muong.

Handicraft items, which are also souvenirs in Mai Chau.

A craftsman in Van Village.

Brocade-made bags and clothes are favourite souvenirs of tourists visiting Mai Chau.

Produce from the forest.

Tourists can learn about unique handicraft items…

… Or the simple life of local people.

They can enjoy Mai Chau’s boiled maize on the road.


March 23, 2010 at 3:45 am Leave a comment

Spirited away

VietNamNet Bridge – Gie Trieng ethnic minority are a highly traditional hill tribe from the Central highlands.

There are around 30,000 Gie Trieng living in small hamlets each with 10- 15 households built around a rong (communal house) throughout Lam Dong, Kon Tum and Quang Nam provinces

The Gie Trieng hill tribe can be found scattered across Vietnam’s mountainous Central Highlands – mostly in Kon Tum, Quang Nam and Lam Dong provinces.

There are around 30,000 Gie Trieng though there are various sub-groups within the Gie-Trieng community: Ta re, T’rieng, Ve and Ba Nong. They live in small hamlets with 10- 15 households built around a rong (communal house).
Gie Trieng people live off weaving, farming, hunting and fishing. Generally they don’t pay much attention to livestock production.

Love and marriage

When a woman falls in love with a man, she is allowed to ‘accost him’. If the man refuses, he can be kidnapped by the woman’s friends and/ or relatives and forced to marry her! The man will stay in the woman’s home for five nights. After the deadline is up, if he still refuses to marry the girl, he will be fined one pig and 10 jars of alcohol.

An engagement ceremony (Ta Vuy Trieng) is often secretly organised. Only the couple’s close relatives are allowed to participate. It is said that a sudden mariage will bring the couple much happiness.

In the week before the wedding (Che Chia), the bride has to prepare as much firewood as possible for the wedding, as it is considered a dowry to warm her new hearth.

The groom’s family will present two pigs to the bride’s family. When the pigs are slaughtered, people will touch one another and the butcher in hope of bringing happiness and wealth to the couple and themselves. Blood from the slaughtered pigs is also doused on the couple’s bed to wish that they will have many children.

Spirit world

The Gie Trieng believe that all beings have a “soul” and a “spirit”. Therefore ritual ceremonies and the watching of good and bad omens have prevailed. However some of the tribal beliefs are extremely primitive. In Ta Pooc village in Kon Tum’s Ngoc Hoi district, a child was born by the name of A Trinh in 1989. Two days later his maternal grandmother died.

His grandfather attributed his wife’s death to Trinh’s parents, who were alleged to have had premarital sex so Trinh was considered to be a ghost. The grandfather wanted to kill Trinh and reported the case to the village’s council of elders.

The council asked the communal government to revoke Trinh’s parents’ marriage certificate and kill Trinh in the forest. Trinh’s father absconded with his son to Dac Mon commune in Kon Tum province’s Dac Glay district. A midwife by the name of Y Chay adopted Trinh into her home and today Trinh still lives in Dac Mon.

Chay became embroiled in another controversial case in 1999 when a woman from her village by the name of Y Suong died of tetanus after giving birth to her daughter, who was named U Ni. Suong’s husband was advised by some villagers to kill U Ni, who was regarded as a ghost.

He took his daughter to the forest and simply left her there. But Y Chay had followed the man into the forest and confronted him. She said she would report the case to the district’s police and he would be charged with murder. In the end Y Chay adopted U Ni.

In another case a woman from Chay’s village died of postnatal disease two weeks after giving birth to an infant named Y Truong. The baby was to be buried alive with his ill-fated mother until Y Chay appeared and asked the villagers to give her Y Truong. Sadly, the child died when he was one year old.

A veteran from the Vietnamese-American war, Chay and her own husband cannot conceive. As a result, she loves all babies and has never backed down from declaring her village’s customs to be unsound even though she has been subjected to abuse and ostracised from the community.


March 23, 2010 at 3:39 am Leave a comment

Philippine Airlines opens new routes from HCMC

Philippine Airlines has announced the launch of two new air routes this month, connecting Ho Chi Minh City with Australia’s Brisbane city and the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh.

The Filipino national flag carrier began services on the HCMC- Brisbane route on March 15 and will open the HCMC-Riyadh route on March 28, Marie Jemma B. Saranillo, the carrier’s country manager in Vietnam, said at a media briefing last Monday.

She said passengers would transit in Manila before boarding planes to the destinations in Australia and Saudi Arabia.

Currently, the carrier offers fares starting from US$270 for a one-way trip between HCMC and the Australian city and from $325 for a roundtrip on this route. The promotional fares are some $300 lower than normal rates.

March 23, 2010 at 3:34 am Leave a comment

In Vietnam, cauldrons on every corner

A waiter selects items from the offerings at Minh Duc, a restaurant in the center of Ho Chi Minh City.

(Arantxa Cedillo for The New York Time)

“You like congealed pigs’ blood?” my travel companion asked, pulling me over to a street cart in Ho Chi Minh City. Before I could answer, two bowls of chao, a rice porridge bobbing with slices of pork sausage and cubes of coagulated blood, were plopped in our hands.

Pigs’ blood porridge isn’t something I’d normally try. I may not have even wandered over to see what was cooking in the streetside cauldron on wheels. But then again, I wasn’t on this culinary trek with any ordinary traveler. I was with Michael Huynh (pronounced “win”), a New York chef and restaurateur who was taking me on an eating tour of his native city.

Cooking, you might say, is in Mr. Huynh’s blood. He grew up in the kitchen at his mother’s restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, which residents still call Saigon. Now 45, Mr. Huynh, who is better known by his nickname, Bao, reigns over a mini-empire of Vietnamese restaurants in New York City. In the last year alone, he’s staked a claim as one of New York’s most prolific chefs. (His tricks, he says, are that his menus are set at recession-friendly prices and that he can negotiate a lease in his favor.)

My journey with Mr. Huynh actually began thousands of miles away, at his new Lower East Side Vietnamese beer garden, Bia. During my visit — research for my trip — I was pleasantly surprised to find the frenetic Mr. Huynh at Bia. I asked where I should eat while in Ho Chi Minh City. “Why don’t I take you to my favorite places myself,” he said. I thought he was joking, but it turned out he was headed to his hometown to scout locations for a new restaurant (surprise, surprise) when I was going to be there.

Our tour, he told me when I met with him one more time before the trip, wouldn’t necessarily be hitting the city’s “it” restaurants. Instead, we would eat our way through Mr. Huynh’s version of the city, stopping at the places he goes to when in town, his tried-and-true spots.

What Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s biggest metropolis, lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in chaotic energy and, of course, in its cuisine, both of which seem to be ubiquitous. Amid an incongruent jumble of low-lying buildings, its narrow streets and tiny alleys overflow with no-frills restaurants that open onto the sidewalk and look as if they could double for someone’s garage. Seemingly on every corner are portable carts powered by a gas burner and an old woman who, in many cases, is the umpteenth generation to stir that very pot. Patrons sit on low-rise stools or plastic child-size chairs in these makeshift dining spots, hunched over bowls of noodles.

At Com Nieu Sai Gon, rice is cooked in a clay pot, which is then broken open, leaving a crispy patty.
Red chilies play a prominent role in Vietnamese food.
Shellfish on the grill at Lang Nuong Nam Bo, which specializes in barbecue.

Mr. Huynh and I were to arrive the same day, but given his hectic schedule, I wasn’t surprised when he called me just before I was boarding my flight to say he was coming the following day. Three days later, he finally turned up. True to his word, he wasted no time introducing me to his native city’s cuisine.

After beginning with the pig’s blood porridge — we paid less than a dollar for the two of us — we headed for District 3, a neighborhood outside the city center. Our destination, Com Nieu Sai Gon, he told me, is beloved by locals and is increasingly on the radar of food-focused tourists. Its former owner, Madame Ngoc, became well-known with travelers after appearing on Anthony Bourdain’s travel show “No Reservations” in 2005. Madame Ngoc has since passed on, but her restaurant continues to pack in the diners.

Once seated, Mr. Huynh hardly glanced at the 300 or so items on the menu before spitting out a long order for our waiter. Meanwhile, the sound of shattering pots rang throughout the restaurant. The reason wasn’t clumsiness. It turned out that the house specialty, rice cooked in a clay pot, is served after a ritual you aren’t likely to find in New York: before serving, waiters break the clay pots and then scrape out the crispy patties of rice that remain.

To ensure there are no lingering shards of clay, glove-clad waiters toss the rice patties across the room to each other before depositing them on diners’ tables and sprinkling them with a scallion-spiked sauce. (According to Richard Sterling, a friend who lives in Ho Chi Minh City and wrote Lonely Planet’s “World Food: Vietnam,” this is an ancient tradition in Southeast Asia, but one that is rarely performed these days.) As the baked rice landed on our table, a waiter showed me a scar on his thumb from breaking a pot, a hazard of the job.

A few minutes later, a procession of dishes began arriving: Japanese eggplant, sautéed with enough garlic to take out a vampire; steamed blood cockles; caramelized fish hatchlings cooked in a clay pot; and lotus root salad. All were washed down with a bia da, beer with ice, a time-honored southern Vietnam tradition.

But Mr. Huynh, I would quickly learn, never settles for just one meal. Every time we met, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, we’d make several stops, snacking our way down the street. Sometimes we’d slurp up a bowl of pho before he’d guide me down alleyways for one of the many variations on the theme of bun (pronounced “boon”), a vermicelli noodle bowl filled with pork and veggies.

Then we’d stop at a cart for sticky rice or a pork-crammed banh mi sandwich and then, finally, sit down on a sidewalk stool for a dosa-like shrimp-and-pork-stuffed banh xeo. (Whether we were eating street food or at a restaurant, the meal for two, plus a couple of beers, rarely exceeded $20.) “The most authentic food in Saigon is at street carts and simple restaurants,” he said during one of our multi-stop extravaganzas.

One day, while Mr. Huynh had a business meeting, I stopped into the Black Cat, a restaurant owned by a friend of a friend, Geoffrey Deetz, originally from the Bay Area. Over cold bottles of Vietnamese beer, he took my guide’s comments a step further: “It’s more about style than substance at the new trendy restaurants,” he said, explaining that most Vietnamese chefs have yet to successfully elevate traditional cuisine. As Vietnam’s robust economy continues to grow and newly built skyscrapers devour blocks that once offered no-frills food options, finding decent dining in the central District 1 is becoming a challenge.

Unless, of course, you’re with Mr. Huynh. The following day, he took me to Minh Duc, in the city center. The restaurant, which features simple décor and communal metal tables, offers yet another surprising form of entertainment: the open-to-the-street dining room is across a busy road from the kitchen, so while Mr. Huynh and I munched on a feast of simply prepared dishes, we watched a steady stream of tray-carrying waiters carefully play a real-life version of the classic arcade game Frogger, struggling to cross the scooter-crammed street. Once it arrived, though, the food was the real star of the show.

“You can’t eat like this in America,” said Mr. Huynh, scanning the table. “Vietnamese food is similar to Chinese, but the difference is that we cook food slower,” he said. Case in point: the caramelized pork belly was so tender it came apart in chunks when my chopsticks hit it. The braised catfish was equally tender — Mr. Huynh instructed me to eat the belly first, which was soft and rich and melted when it hit the tongue.

On another night, after our usual impromptu stops at food carts for sticky rice or a glass of mung bean milk, we took a taxi out to District 10 to dine at Lang Nuong Nam Bo, one of a handful of restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City that specialize in Mekong Delta-style barbecue. Diners prepare their own meat on miniature charcoal grills at each table. Crates of beer are left at diners’ feet, along with a bottle opener on the table.

As waiters wandered by, plopping big chunks of ice in our beer mugs, we snacked on small embryonic duck eggs. Then the raw meat began arriving: wild boar, then goat breast. Mr. Huynh carefully flipped the meat on the grill until he determined it was done. Both were smoky and tender. Finally, a surprise: Mekong rat, a delicacy in the south. Mr. Huynh said he wouldn’t eat it, but refused to say why, leaving the flattened, just-grilled rat on a plate staring at me. I gave it a go. There wasn’t much meat, but it was edible: chewy, dark and well-charred.

Several beers and small mammals later, our clothes reeking of smoked meat, we paid the bill and jumped in a cab, directing the driver back to District 1. Tomorrow would be a new day, and I had a feeling that meant another marathon, eating our way through the city’s chaotic food-strewn streets.



There are no nonstop flights from the United States to Ho Chi Minh City. A recent Web search yielded Cathay Pacific ( flights out of Kennedy Airport in New York, with a change in Hong Kong, starting at about $1,200, for travel in April.


Com Nieu Sai Gon (6C Tu Xuong Street, District 3, 84-8 3-932-6388).

Minh Duc (100 Ton That Tung Street, District 1; 84-8 3-839-2240;

Lang Nuong Nam Bo (285 Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, District 10; 84-8 3-863-2309).


If you want to follow the Michael Huynh trail, stay at the Sunflower Hotel (84A Bui Thi Xuan Street; 84-8 3-925-7458;, his home-away-from-home when he’s in town. doubles from $40; Wi-Fi, breakfast and cable TV are included.

The new 19-story Intercontinental Asiana Saigon (39 Le Duan Boulevard, District 1; 84-8 3-520-9999; offers 305 rooms and suites, most with city views; doubles from $195.

By David Farley the New York Times

March 22, 2010 at 4:45 am Leave a comment

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