South-side yo

So where did I last leave off. OK, just went back and double-checked. Was rambling about food in an ode to the South of Vietnam. Let’s get back into it shall we.

So after that first night, I stuck around Saigon for another day or two loitering at my aunts cafe with Linh, working and belittling her staff into cooking me food and drinks etc.

Meal Highlight – Hủ tiếu Nam Vang. It’s basically a glass-noodle based dish. The ‘Nam Vang’ in it’s name is Vietnamese for Phnom Penh I think, and yes – the dish is originally Cambodian. We (Vietnamese people) borrowed it, and perfected it, because that’s how we do. It comes with quail eggs, dried shallots, Chinese BBQ pork (char-siu), prawns and random other parts of beef and pork. Needless to say. It’s a glorious dish.

After getting tired of hassling staff at the cafe, we decided to head down to the Mekong Delta to visit Linh’s family. Best decision ever (no sarcasm).

So off we went – on my trusty little moped armed with our laptops to get some work done, and a few bottles of wine for after hours. After seventy kilometers of slamming down 25c sugarcane juice from road side vendors, and near death encounters with semi-trailers on the dodgy highway – we arrived at Mỹ Tho.

After saying g’day to the family, we grabbed a bottle of bubbly, bought a human head-sized block of ice from a drinks vendor to chill it, and hit the docks where we accosted a river youth into giving us a sunset cruise down the delta in his sampan in exchange for a few bucks.

Best few bucks I’ve ever spent. Seriously.

Seriously. If you go to Vietnam. Don’t worry about Halong Bay or Ninh Binh or anything like that. Those areas have had their magic stolen through poor tourism/environmental management. Ok, well don’t completely write them off. But the one thing I highly recommend, is that you roll the dice on your life and get a motorbike first off. It completely changes your experience in Vietnam. No more being stuck in the old quarter of Hanoi or in district one of Saigon. Then get-yo-ass out to the delta. Hands down. This is the best of Vietnam. The Vietnam that makes me feel all giddy. The food, the people, the weather, the culture. The lush greenery of endless rice fields. ‘Scuse the language. But it’s just that fucking refreshing being out there.

At night, after dining on BBQ’d-seafood and beers in a back alley, we bought a few more cans, and rode out of town into the country side and sat amongst the rice paddies, just having a laugh whilst being ravished by mosquitoes. Fucking bliss friends. Fucking bliss.

Lastly, did I mention that kids swim the Mekong for exercise? Seriously. They don a pair of googles and jump in and just do ‘laps’. Quite an unexpected sight.

Off to stuff myself silly on more beer and food now.

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