Thursday, March 18, 2010

In Vietnam, Cauldrons on Every Corner

Arantxa Cedillo for The New York Times
A waiter selects items from the offerings at Minh Duc, a restaurant in the center of Ho Chi Minh City.

“YOU like congealed pigs’ blood?” my travel companion asked, pulling me over to a street cart in Ho Chi Minh City. Before I could answer, two bowls of chao, a rice porridge bobbing with slices of pork sausage and cubes of coagulated blood, were plopped in our hands.

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide

Arantxa Cedillo for The New York Times
At Com Nieu Sai Gon, rice is cooked in a clay pot, which is then broken open, leaving a crispy patty. 

Pigs’ blood porridge isn’t something I’d normally try. I may not have even wandered over to see what was cooking in the streetside cauldron on wheels. But then again, I wasn’t on this culinary trek with any ordinary traveler. I was with Michael Huynh (pronounced “win”), a New York chef and restaurateur who was taking me on an eating tour of his native city.continued>>

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