One of the best things about Vietnam. The beer here isn’t that great BUT it only cost twenty-five cents. That’s a quarter people, one measly quarter! And it’s cold and it’s the best twenty-five cent beer you will ever have. Not only that but it’s just a lady sitting next to a keg, you give her money, she gives you a cold one. Then you sit down on those little stools and just chill on the side of the street with about fifty other folks. Maybe some of you would like to call it a “Beer Garden” of sorts.
I don’t even want to call it a market cause honestly, Vietnam is one big amazing market.
There’s this one in particular that sells everything from food to fresh seafood, meat, dried goods, clothing, shoes, and a plethora of many items for the household or the office or pretty much anything you can think of and you can purchase things either wholesale or retail. It’s the Ben Thant Market and you’ve got to have some amazing bargaining skills to do well here.
Their food area.
Yummy snails, many kinds.
Some really good offal congee.
This awesome rice noodle salad is with shrimp dumplings in clear wrappers and mung bean dumplings. There’s a little army making them.
And it just looks like a mess but tastes awesome. Fresh dumplings and herbs.
And these clear shrimp dumplings look like little aliens.
Then you’ve got some of the typical market items like spices
Across from the veg was some awesome seafood and really awesome fish mongers
Now these meat butchers have some really amazing displays and awesome meat cleaver skills
No? Not your cup of tea? How about some intestines? Or liver?
You don’t like offal you say? How about some feet?
Are you a vegetarian now? Did you want some noodles? Cause they dry them in the sun. And that’s how they make bread crumbs as well.
Then they’re stacked up all nice nice to sell.
Maybe you’re not hungry anymore, so you walk into the center and walk upon this crazy jam packed market filled with so much stuff, you kinda go crazy.
I gotta shoe guy.
I also happen to love that outside of the market center, all the streets around are just an extension of the market. So you have blocks of veggie stalls, grains, noodles, etc. etc.
Flowers are sold from little old ladies on bicycles.
There are just so many things to look at. Sensory overload.
How I love thee!
Contents equal but not limiting to:
Pork Belly, Pork Sausage, Grill Pork, Pork Floss, Pork Liver Pate, Pork Meatballs, and Tofu. Vegetables of the cucumber, pickled carrot, pickled diakon, and cilantro variety.
Sauces of the North are chili, of the South are mayonnaise based.
Bánh Mì actually translates into bread/sandwich. So really any type of sandwich but this bread, OH THE BREAD. I love you French for leaving behind the skills of bread making in Vietnam! Fresh, crunchy outer part, soft delicate inner part, better than any kind of bread you will ever eat, EVER!
There’s a whole shopping center just for bánh mì parts.
You can buy all those pates and sausages.
And of course suckling pigs.
Then there’s always the street lady!
And it was so satisfying.
Bánh Xèo, you are so delicious. You are light and crispy, packed with shrimpy flavor. You come with a perfectly fishy fish sauce with pickled daikon and carrots and a plethora of green leaves to be wrapped in and with. The ladies creating you are equally as talented, with the super thin liquid that turns into batter and running about six sizzling platters at a time, on well maintained coal clay pots, all at different temperatures to make the perfect bánh xèo.
They also happen to make some killer summer rolls.
Bánh xèo happens to be a literal translation of sizzling cake, which is exactly what it is. Imagine the most delicate, crispy, thinner than a wafer pancake. Really thin crispy edges, slightly meatier in the center but still crunchy, filled with little shrimp, pork bits, bean sprouts and of course the essential side vegetable condiments of different leafy greens with herbs, accompanied by the perfect sauce. Doesn’t get better than that. Really.