Monday, November 1, 2010

Pham Ngu Lao

Last night I overindulged in my favorite street food in Vietnam.  I had a craving so strong that, despite the rain,  we immediately hopped on our bike and raced into the heart of the city to one of the bars on the Pham Ngu Lao.  I don't have a clue what the bar is actually called, but some of the colorful locals refer to it as Assport due to a long forgotten letter on a nearby storefront's sign.  We have been there a few times.  My favorite part about the otherwise dreary spot  is the table placement.  A long row of tables line the outside walls of the place.  The aforementioned tables offer great views of bleary-eyed tourists, waddling tortoise backpackers, grimy ex-pats and street vendors selling their various wares.  The vendors walk directly up to your table - an exertion free experience .  Inevitably, some of the more aggressive types can be a bit annoying (the book sellers with their precarious stacks of airport reads and the gents pushing knock-off sunglasses come to mind), but most of those dissipate as the night begins and are replaced by my beloved food vendors.  These women can readily supply all of your atypical late night cravings: pomegranates, unripe mangoes, both dry-roasted and steamed peanuts, rice rolls, shrimp cakes and my favorite of all - hard boiled quail eggs.
For a mere 5,000 VND (about 25 cents) you can have six of your very own eggs with a small packet of salty seasoning for accompaniment.  When we arrived at Assport, I kept my eyes peeled for the right vendor.  I literally was dying for some quail eggs.  Unfortunately, due to the ever-present drizzle, they were few and far between.  The bony, sad man that sells boneless, dried squid from his bicycle passed a few times before one of my gals finally hit the block.  She had a large basket under one of her arms and a traditional sedge hat.  I beckoned her to the table to have a look at her wares.  I bought a packet of eggs and we savored each one!
Unfortunately, one packet never lasts long between two big eaters like Gavin and I, so the search began again.  Sure enough another gal came by, only this one was well-equipped and had giant chips as well.
We bought a few more bags of quail eggs, a monstrous chip, and a bag of steamed peanuts to enjoy.  It was the best meal anyone could ask for!

1 comment:

Carol said...

You've always liked hardboiled eggs! Are you going to get some and make deviled eggs....your absolute favorite?