[Ben sez]: Live from Vietnam, Ben et Nate are here to bring you a breaking news bulletin from the food frontier in Saigon.
We arrived in Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City) after 16 hours in transit. Watching out the bus window we saw cities that seemed to be 90% Pho restaurants, city blocks with five or six Pho restaurants next to each other. Suffice to say, we were excited.
After grabbing some sleep and checking our email like the good internet addicts we are, we stepped outside to meet our first portable sandwich shop (a woman with two baskets on a yoke to be carried down the street on her shoulders). A little pointing and holding up two fingers and she was slicing open baguette, inserting a few meatballs from her simmering pot of delicious red sauce, stuffing in pickles and cilantro, then pouring on a delicious chili/fish sauce mixture. The "OH MY GOD, SANDWICH!" meter was off the charts, after the shit we were eating in Cambodia, we could hardly contain ourselves as we reached into the bag to remove our little, newspaper wrapped, sandwich bundles of joy.
One bite into the light, crispy, distinctly Vietnamese baguette and we knew this was something criminal. Something so good it makes you groan and melt into a little puddle of bliss on the ground. A combination of slow-cooked pork in mystery sauce and awesome pickles (and probably some heroin based on the reaction we had) that for that moment seemed to embody everything that is good about life.
Nate got that glazed-over look to him, looked off into the distance and said happily, "I really wish a sniper would just put a bullet in my head right now, because I'm pretty sure it doesn't get any better than this."
[Nate sez]: It's true, and I wasn't completely kidding.
Vietnam is going to be awesome.
Oh, did I mention that the sandwich cost 5000 Dong? That's about 30 cents. That's a deal I can live with. On top of that there seem to be Banh Mi stands everywhere serving a a vast array of sandwiches, from the aforementioned juicy meatballs, to grilled brochettes, to god-knows-what paté - all of which are delicious.
All this blogging is making me hungry... I think it's time for another Banh Mi.