Monday, September 03, 2007

Hungry in Vietnam - Street Mollusks

seafood collage
I apologize for not spewing out these Vietnam posts as frequently. My kids come back to school on Wednesday (aaack!) and I've been busy getting ready for my new class. Saying goodbye to my last days of vacation have been a bit depressing. So instead, I've been taking a lot of naps trying to ignore the reality of work and this irritating heat.

phoenix 74
Anyways, back to Vietnam. After our delicious banh mi cart feast, my brother and I found a suitable place to stay at Phoenix 74. This was probably one of the nicest places we've stayed at. Our place had a freegin shower curtain, a shower head holder, and even wifi (sometimes). Woo! We love infrastructure in the bathroom.

pham ngu lao seafood
So after settling in and resting up, my brother and I were ready to get our grub on in Saigon. Jeremy and I were excited to find some mollusk streetaurants (street restaurants) right outside our guest house on Bui Vien. Most of these joints look very similar with their plastic stools, obnoxious fluorescent lighting, and an abundance of mollusk delights.

seafood mamas
I truly believe there are two types of Vietnamese women. First you have the sweet women (woman on the right). These women usually speak with a higher tone and use sweet words like "honey" to pretty much anyone. Then you have the passionate Vietnamese women (left). Their voices are a bit deeper and a bit harsher. You'd never hear them say "honey" and you pretty much feel like you're always in trouble with them. (My mom is a great example of a "passionate" Vietnamese woman.) But even though both sound very different, both can be equally loving and caring. These two at the this particular streetaurant were really great and took awesome care of us.

seafood set up
All the mollusk streetaurants carry several varieties of clams, snails, crab, and mussels.

french mama
Initially, Jeremy and I weren't sure what to order. Then we looked over and saw a French family of 4 devouring plates and plates of mollusk goodness. I asked the mama what was good and she did not hesitate to get up and show me what to order.

razor clams
The French mama insisted we get these. In France, she said they call them couteau, which means knife. In the US, these babies are known as razor clams.

snails
She also insisted on a plate of river snails. Jeremy and I never had snails before, but with each plate costing under $2, we thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to try something new.

clams

crab

seafood dinner
We ended up ordering 5 plates, razor clams, river snails, crab, clams and tons of Tiger Beer. Our favorites ended up being the razor clams and river snails. So freegin good. I really loved the texture and flavor on those babies. The damage...180,000d/$11.25!!!

All the dishes were stir fried in different savory sauces consisting of garlic, ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce, chili sauce, sugar, and gosh, I don't know what else. We were really amazed at how the sauces were so different, yet so similar.

jeremy and his seafood
Damn. I love Saigon.

Phoenix 74
74 Bui Vien
Pham Ngu Lao, District 1 Saigon
(08)837-0538

Mollusk Streeturants
Bui Vien (below Nguyen Thai Hoc)

Hungry in Vietnam
(previous entries)
Abandoned Building Pho
Pho Bo Dac Biet
Hanoi Street Market on Pho Gia Ngu
The Road to Sapa
Sapa Market
Sapa Eats
Goodbye Sapa
Street Cart Banh Mi

9 comments:

JadedOne said...

*drool* The seafood looks so incredibly fresh. I hope it's just as fresh when we go to France in December!

I know what you mean by dreading the end of vacation. My company gave us Friday & Monday off for labor day weekend and I'm telling you, even though I didn't take all that much time off, I don't want to be here at work right now!

eatdrinknbmerry said...

J, great shots of the night market food... or as you call streetaurants. We need to find some razor clams... i'd love them in pasta.

susan said...

hi jeni, your posts make me want to fly to vietnam like right now! great pics.

la dra said...

Wow! I don't know if I'd try mollusks from a street cart...

But we did go to Uyenthy this weekend in Westminster. I had the banhmi of course because of your last post and loved it. J had the goat curry. Thanks for the recommendation.

Passionate Eater said...

I showed your entire series to my family, and we all sat in front of the computer and watched it like a slideshow of family photos. My brother (who lived in Vietnam for 23 years) had tears in his eyes. J, you are amazing. Thank you.

L-K said...

What a coincidence. The kids and I also just got back from a trip to VN. Unfortunately, two preschoolers+one adult=no pictures. But I am already missing the place.

Chubbypanda said...

I should strap a sponge below my chin before reading your posts. You know, to catch the drool.

What about the ladies who are both sweet and passionate? My mom is sweet to outsiders, but passionate to her family. Or maybe I just got yelled at a lot as a child. I dunno...

Jeni said...

Jadedone...oooh...I can't wait to see the France pictures. I'm sure you're going to get some amazing eats there!

EDNBM...yes...razor clams for our next dinner. I love them!

Susan...I seriously love Vietnam. Although it's taking forever, I'm doing my best to really sell the Nam. There are too many misconceptions that are keeping people from heading there.

la dra...the mollusks were so fresh. Seriously, nothing to worry about! MMM Uyenthy banh mi's are pretty delicious...pricey but sooo yummy! How was the goat curry?

Passionate Eater...awww! Your comment means so much to me!!! Glad your family (especially your brother) enjoyed the pictures. I'm trying to work on the rest of the Vietnam posts but I just started teaching again and I've been so tired/busy. Please be patient! And how is N'awlins??? I miss Cafe Du Monde! I swear that place is run by a Vietnamese mama.

l-k...what no pictures??? I went back and read that again...ok I understand one adult and two pre-schoolers!!! That's insane!

Chubbypanda...my mom's nice to outsiders too. My friends loooove her...but she's pretty blunt with me.

K. F. Peko Peko said...

DANG!

That place is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I gotta get me to Mollusk Streeturants!


Peko

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