It was raining in Saigon as we lay in bed in our little kipsy above the knocking shop. The Miss Mekong Pub complete with sad-eyed elderly men and dressed-to-the-nines nubile hostesses. Whilst they cheered and beered the World Cup goals we sniffled and sighed, sad to be leaving Vietnam.
Here are some tokens and signs left behind in our passageway by the love for sale gang.
With our usual determination to cover as much topography as possible ~ age, heat, knees and distance notwithstanding ~ we bring to you, dear readers the high points. Below is the final of four staircases up to our place. This one required deep knee bends and a tilt forward to stop from toppling backwards.
We went and made obeisance to the Lunch Lady Of Saigon, she of the Heavenly soups and delightful pottages.
After slurping appreciatively (it’s ok delicate western readers, don’t cringe, slurping is considered good manners here), at the shrine to soup we hoofed it back to Ha Ban Trung and noticed not for the first time that the footpaths in Saigon are atrocious. Does the funding for footpaths comes straight from Hanoi and are these badly broken byways a subtle form of ongoing punishment for the former wrong thinking/wrong footed puppets of the Imperialists ?
Speaking of Imperialists.
Tib Restaurant – blink and you’ll miss the darkened lane. There’s a snack lady at the top of the lane with the usual tiny chairs and then you notice that step by step, as if under an enchanted spell, it becomes prettier with paper lanterns, gently trickling fountains and droppingly luxuriant ferns.
But wait, what’s this we see ? None other than a photograph of an old Sheriff and his Faithful Deputy Dawg, GW Bush and JW Howard, putting on the nose bag at this very restaurant.
Tib is a culinary homage to the cuisine of Imperial Hué.
The décor is dark wood and secrets, the service attentive but not grovelling.
We had the Hell’s Rice – the meatier version to that which we had at the vegetarian Tib last time – a deconstructed fried rice, smoky eggplant dish and a caramelized fish hotspot, tongue-singingly hot, sweet and delicious.