Rock ‘n’ Roll Fuel

One of the best parts of working at the Saigon Times is editing articles about various events going on around town. Last Thursday night, The Astronomer and I headed to a heavy metal show in District 1 that I learned about through my work at the paper.

The music was seriously terrible (see evidence below), but it was awesome seeing Vietnamese boys sporting long hair, drinking Heinekens and head-banging to the awful beat. They reminded me of my cousin Jimmy.

Prior to the show, The Astronomer and I wandered the streets surrounding the concert venue in search of dinner. I picked up a bánh mì thịt (7,000 VND) and a bánh giầy (3,000 VND).

The bánh mì thịt was smeared with pate, packed with cold cuts and topped with cucumber spears, cilantro and pickled carrots and daikon. The sandwich was decent, but a wee bit overpriced. I guess that’s what happens when I eat in District 1 with a white boy by my side. Sigh…

The bánh giầy was tiny in size, but mighty in the taste department. This is the first time that I have seen it sold street-side and even though I was already full, I just had to have one! In retrospect, I should have forgone the sandwich and had two or three bánh giầy instead.

Bánh giầy is a sticky number. It is comprised of a piece of cha (pork force meat) snuggled in between two circular cakes made with a combination of glutinous (bột nếp) and rice flour (bột gạo). The cakes are tasteless and doughy, but in a good way, while the cha brings salty and meaty goodness to the table. The bánh giầy are wrapped up in banana leaves to keep eaters’ fingers clean and to keep the individual cakes from adhering to one another.

Bánh giầy—think of them as Vietnamese Lunchables.

4 Responses to “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fuel”


  1. 1 Astronomer January 23, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Don’t be blaming this white boy for your loss of dong. I have never in all my days purchasing banh mi been forced to bargain just to get it down to 7,000. That woman must have thought we were ngu nhu bo.

  2. 2 Raine January 24, 2008 at 3:04 am

    Gosh that is awful music… I think it’s cute seeing them headbang without the long hair!

  3. 3 Summer January 24, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Dang! That Banh mi looks DeLiCIouS! I have never thought we can bargain for food. Maybe I will try bargaining my McChicken next time. Ha!

  4. 4 Gastronomer January 24, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Astro-man – I think we both know that if you weren’t around, that sandwich would’ve cost 5,000 dong.

    Raine – our ears hurt like mad until the following morning! The sound quality of the video is quite accurate.

    Summer – it’s not so much bargaining as telling the vendor you don’t have proper change. I learned this trick from the xe om drivers😉 Try it at Mickey D’s and let me know how it goes!


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