We've been loving the variety of Western food available in the city. Our favorite for the last few days has been a red-and-white decorated pizza and salad bar buffet, called Pepperonis. There is bad pop music pumping into the bright and cheery establishment, and a steady supply of delicious all-you-can-eat food – it feels like we're back in the USA!
Alas, all this buffet dining costs about twice as much as we'd prefer to spend on a meal. After several days of shelling out the cash to stuff ourselves, we've decided it's time for something a bit cheaper. Tonight, we're heading into the back-alleys of Ho Chi Minh City to see what street food is on offer.
Zig-zagging our way through the alleys with no regard for the direction we're going, we manage to pop out right in front of the pizza place. We're tempted to eat there again, joking about how fate has brought us here, but decide to double back and look one more time.
After a few minutes and a slightly different route taken, we find a fried noodle stand that fills the surrounding alleyway with delicious savory scents. This is looking promising!
It's a family-run place, with kids running around, grannies washing dishes, and moms seating the locals in whatever chairs they can find. Noodles and veggies sizzle in a large, flat wok, while across the alley, a lady whizzes up delectable-looking fruit shakes.
At places like this, there is no such thing as a private table. Seating space is limited, so diners have to share it. This can make for a fun eating experience (or an awkward one, I suppose) depending on who the table-companions are.
In our case, we luck out with a really friendly young couple. We chat with Hein and Luang, who work at the bank out on the main road. Hein has been to the states, and both of them speak really good English. They are more than happy to help us order, and are pleased to teach us a few phrases in Vietnamese.
This is what they teach us:
jAHH doy hai fung gum geaH <--impossible to write i'd like two serving rice chicken jAHH doy tem mop chai/lee/fung nua i'd like ??? one bottle/glass/serving more
Now we'll be able to ask for another of something we like! Fung especially seems like it'll be a useful catch-all phrase; now we won't have to confuse people with our botched attempts at asking specifically for a plate/bowl/cup/glass etc.
Thanks for the help, you two!