7.247 Pho Ga

7.247

8 (Thu) September 2016

Pho Ga

3.0

at Banmi Saigon

-Hanoi-

solo

img_5749
Not the ageing part per se that interests me, but the parliamentarian angle.

Mission to Viet Nam : Day 3 (see previously 7.246 Bun Cha).

In Hanoi.  Here to attend a parliamentarian conference on ageing.  Arrived Tuesday.  Flying back to Manila tomorrow.

img_4969
Nom Thut Bo Kho is a street-side restaurant/snack shop.

Determined to get down and dirty on my last night in town, I went to the Old Quarter hoping for an immersive experience in Hanoi’s famous street food.  But I didn’t do proper research to determine exactly where to go, so I meandered aimlessly for over an hour, Old Quarter being far more expansive than I’d anticipated, alley after alley lined primarily with shops offering trinkets for tourists.  Until I came upon a random restaurant/snack shop, nothing particularly appealing on the menu, didn’t sell beer, but I was tired and ventured in for a bite.  And quickly left after just two bites, one per dish that I’d ordered.

img_5762
Nothing particularly appealing on the menu.
img_4976
Didn’t sell beer.
img_4980
Nem Cuon (0.5) : skins like plastic, insides like mulch, both inedibly dry/rough.
img_4979
Nom Chim (1.0) : bird = probably pigeon, probably straight off the street = locavorism.

Fed up — though far from literally — about to call it a night, but then I came upon a book shop, where I picked a book about street food in Hanoi, which included a map.

img_6383

Unfortunately, though I’d been hoping for guidance towards some kind of centralized marketplace with a collection of street vendors, the book only gave recommendations for a select number of restaurants selling street-style food.

Also, I again underestimated the geographic scale.  Took nearly an hour before I got to the general vicinity of my intended destination.  And then I couldn’t find the place.

Fuck.

See, this reaffirms that I’m not a foodie.

img_4985
Banh My Sai Gon is a Vietnamese restaurant.
img_4983
Specializes in pho ga (chicken) — amazing that they just leave the chicken out in the tropical climate all day/night long.
img_4986
The initial attraction was the offer of air-conditioning, a rarity in Hanoi — interestingly, the restaurant’s dining area appeared to be the family’s living room, kids playing on their phones, doing their homework…
img_5763
More importantly, the owner/chef/server/mother/whatever was SCORCHING-SCALDING-SEARING-SIZZLING hot, total MILF — that’s her husband (at left), doing a crossword.

The pho was good.  In comparison to the beef pho a couple nights ago (see 7.245 Pho Bo), this one seemed closer to what I’d read about northern/Hanoi-style pho : light chicken broth, simple toppings.  Satisfying, no more, no less.

img_4989
However, the noodles were thinner than I would’ve expected.

Overall, my food experiences in Hanoi weren’t all that great.  But I did confirm : (1) pho is ubiquitous here, (2) though not categorically different or better than it is in other countries where I’ve had it (USA, Korea, Philippines), (3) except that the toppings and garnishes vary widely from place to place, and (4) no sriracha or hoisen sauce on the table.

img_5765
Across the street from the hotel, I couldn’t resist stopping by this late-night restaurant/pub for a final take-away snack.
img_5766
100,000 Vietnamese dong = about 4.5 US dollars; hard to grasp this monetary scale : upon check-out, my hotel bill came out to over 10,000,000 VND, and I was like, “Wait, what?!?!”
img_5768
Looking forward to visiting Saigon someday, more so Ho Chi Minh City.

When traveling, the souvenirs that I purchase/acquire(=steal) tend to be about food and drink : refrigerator magnets representing local dishes; local cookbooks; local cooking ingredients; local dishware; local booze.

img_4990
Canh Ga Chien Mam (2.5) : I’m beginning to appreciate the savory stinkiness of fish sauce.
img_4992
When I brought these items to the counter, at a convenience store next to the pub/restaurant, the clerk pointed to the fish sauce (in the middle), emphatically waved his hands, frowned, x-ed his fingers in front of his mouth, clearly trying to indicate that it wasn’t a beverage, like the beer and vodka.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s