Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Mosque

UPDATE (27/2/2012): Last time we checked, this place is still closed to the public...aarrgghh!

Living in Istanbul, the ever-present sight of lithe minarets piercing the gray sky was a constant reminder of the influence of religion on daily life.  While Saigon has numerous pagodas, Roman Catholic churches, temples, and various other houses of worship (check out the infinitely fascinating and strange brand of syncretism embodied by Caodaism), the topic of spirituality is rarely broached.  Apropos, we recently visited one of the few local mosques not to worship, but to rejoice and bathe ourselves in the mystical powers of curry.

Quan Com Cary An Do Hoi Giao (Special Mosque Rice Curry Restaurant) is an unassuming outdoor eatery situated behind the cerulean mosque on 66 Dong Du in the bustling atria of District 1, in the midst of the hotel and tourist area, on a street littered with Halal Indian, Malaysian, and Turkish restaurants. The relatively small population of ethnic Malays, Muslim tourists, and expats frequent this spot.  A good place to run into co-workers and disciples alike.

To access the resturant you must first drive your motorbike into the front courtyard of the mosque.  A parking attendant will help you find a spot, then with appropriate trepidation, walk back into the complex.  You may feel as though you are going someplace you shouldn't be wandering, this is natural, but summon your inner courage and continue on until fragrant wafts of exotic spices mingle with your nostril tufts.

The cafe is tucked between the mosque and the Imam's spartan lodgings.  We got the pleasure of seeing him shuffle home from work after his midday prayer session. 

The dishes here are served in small portions and are family style.  The menu is concise and practical.  Mutton, chicken, beef, or fish curry and a few vegetable sides.  We chose chicken curry, diced potatoes, stalks of spicy okra, peas, a bowl of white rice and naan bread.  The potatoes and okra were so popular at the table that we had to order second helpings!

 The naan proved to be the perfect compliment.  It was soft, flavorful, chewy and a tad greasy.

I loaded my plate up with the veggie curry, potatoes, and peas -  then tucked in.

After working up a sweat during your next prayer session, treat yourself to a delightful meal and nourish your inner core with a little Malaysian comfort food.


Isis said...

aHey !!

Sorry I haven' written, getting ready to move, etc ..... did ya ever get my email about WSP New Year's? I know you've been busy, love your ongoing blog !!! xox.

I read it regularly on my IPhone, but it's too tedious to text a comment ....

Glad you've found some "Nightlife" at ARNOLD (great name, ha ha) and have ventured out and found your old digs with the Middle East !!

It sounds like you're both doing great, I remember DISTINCTLY "late night" cafes in Singapore, packed with people and awesome food. Hot weather, so LOVELY. Wow, I'm so glad you're getting to experience these wonderful memories !!!!!!

I'm moving to SF Thursday. Found a cute little pad in the Sunset, I'm REALLY excited !! I'm hoping to find a lot of Burners in the Bay Area ............ I really hope you consider going to BM this year. It would be a great opportunity to see your families and friends and BM all at once. Well, we'll see.

Tell Gavin I have a new "teaching Method" for guitar with my little 7year old neice. She is SO adorable, and really learning the chords well. I am now BLINDFOLDING us both, (it's hilarious, trust me) so she can become automatically familiar with playing. So far, she loves this technique. "it's hard," she said, but then she did a little air-guitar while looking straight at me and said, "Someday, I'm gonna play like this." Ha ha Ha!!!

Well, I gotta go eat, cuz you made me really hungry !!

xox Isis.

Carol said...

This was a real treat, what an expierence and tucked away out of sight. You just keep discovering new things almost on a daily basis. Also love your new format, the photographs were great. I've got to go and make breakfast now, you always make me hungry!