First meal in Saigon: Goat’s Udder and Quail’s Egg (with embryo)
On my arrival in Saigon I was met by one of the Human Resource staff members and my boss. After working our way through Saigon traffic they dropped me off at my new apartment. There I met the owners who ran me through how everything worked (including the somewhat kitschy glowing multi-coloured wall clock that shows both the Vietnamese calendar and Western Calendar).
An hour or so later my boss picked me up on his scooter and we headed off to a local charcoal BBQ place near my apartment and just down the road from my new school. There we met his wife, who was kind enough to find me a new sim card for my phone, and then proceeded to move onto the good stuff. Beer. My first drop of Saigon Beer was pleasant. Served in a beer mug with a huge chunk of ice it was a fantastic way to ease myself into my new home. For snacks one of my dinner companions had brought some deep fried small bird (beak and all) … I grabbed a beakless portion of the bird and found it to be dark, duck like and quite tasty.
The restaurant was located street side and every now and again someone would come up to sell some trinket or another. Suddenly a loudish racket started up and I turned around to see some bloke on a bike with a portable karaoke machine. He played his songs for a few minutes from a boom box with that piercingly loud, tinny sound that seems ubiquitous in Asia and then went on his merry way. I’d forgotten how noisy Asia is. Noisy but never dull.
Not knowing what to eat I let the others order. What was set before us was a delicious looking meal of eggplant and other assorted veggies. In addition to that was beef to be grilled tableside and goat udder. The goat udder was surprisingly tasty. The texture reminded me of calamari with that slightly chewy al dente texture while the taste itself was more meaty. I was then offered a small egg, presumably a Quail’s egg ….I cracked it open to find the beginnings of an embryo forming. The egg was quite small so how bad can it be I thought. I dug into the slightly slimy egg with my fingers and ate away. It was actually ok. Nothing to write home about (…mmm..I do see to be blogging about it though …) but definitely not unpleasant.
So that was my first night and my first meal in Saigon. I loved it. I decided to walk home from there and made my way through the maze of little alleyways that surround my apartment block. I stopped a couple of times to ask the way but thoroughly enjoyed the insight into Saigonese life as I passed peoples houses that I could peer into and see what families were up to. So far I’m loving Saigon.