Saturday, January 30, 2010
Late night snack: Pho
One of the many dreams I stole from my parents is have a career in street food. I think it's okay to copy other people's ambitions, especially when they are your parents and too lazy to ever seriously pursue a career in sidewalk cuisine. Anyway, Vietnam has brought the dream bubbling to the top of my consciousness in the form of the pho guy at the corner of my street in Saigon.
Because of the 34C/93°F heat I am forced to retire to my bed several times a day, giving me ample opportunity to watch the ebb and flow of the pho business in Pham Ngu Lao. I didn't take pictures because I was worried they would think I was a total d-bag, which I now regret.
In the mid-morning the women of the family would start washing all of the vegetables in giant bowls in the alley while the man prepared the meat and stock. Later in the afternoon they would set up the stall, as well as one across the alley that sold mango and pineapple shakes.
Once the sun went down is when business started to get busy and would stay that way until they ran out of soup. I crowded onto one of the tables with a few assorted randomers and wondered, again, why in god's name I had spent so much time in China. Even in the crowded tourist district of Saigon a bowl of noodle soup with pork, shrimp and a quail egg was only $1.35 or $1.08 without the shrimp and quail egg. Best of all, it came with a plate brimming with fresh vegetables (I hardly remember what they are like, at this point) to add to the mix. Heaven.