I love planning my travels ahead – that way I have enough time to breeze through my Lonely Planet book, google those things I find interesting and read travel blogs to try and find some hidden gems. I’m not particularly into surprises – I’d rather have a much more prolonged phase of pre-holiday excitedness. I can also live with missing out on some tourist attractions, but I kid you not, a market and the highly recommended foodie treats will never be amiss.
Both M and I have a soft corner to travelling within Asia. All of our previous holidays there have been exceptional. The culture, cuisine and sheer contrasts that one can find is exhilarating. In October this year, we packed our bags and headed off to the land of the Pho – Vietnam. We scraped through some rough weather, flying from Ho Chi Minh city to Hoi An, but when we did arrive, boy was I blown away!
I had watched this video of Anthony Bourdain gushing over a sandwich ( claiming it is symphony in a sandwich) and that put this on top of my list of things to eat.
The french influence on Vietnamese cuisine is subtle, but when you see these beautiful baguettes lined up on every other street side food stall, you are only grateful. I always say, getting the bread right in a sandwich is key! Thankfully for me, there was a Chicken variant, but the popular one is still the Pork version – which has steamed, pan-roasted or oven-roasted seasoned pork belly, Vietnamese sausage, grilled pork, grilled pork patties, spreadable pork liver pâté, grilled chicken with a mixed salad of fresh tomator, cucumber slices, cilantro, and pickled carrots and daikon and a heady mix of magical dressings that the Phuong sisters make from scratch. The “deluxe” version is topped with fried egg – Yes, that is true!
With just the right amount of meat to bread to veggies ratio, bursting flavors of spices, juiciness of the dressing and the crusty baguette crunch, this sandwich is a party in your mouth! Long after the last bite is savored, the taste lingers. All this for just 30,000VND ( $1.50) is truly the best money you will ever spend.
Mr. Bourdain, my humble gratitude!