By now it was just after dark. Having finished our snack in the Cambodian Flower Market, we walked to a small shop and took up 4 of the 8 small stools. At one point we had to get up and move to allow the owner’s daughter and her small child to drive her motorbike into the front room of their house to park it for the night!
The Vietnamese name for our next food is Bánh tráng nướng. Our guides called it “Vietnamese Pizza”, and you can see why; but, it’s a misleading title, only because it bears no resemblance in flavor or texture to classic Italian pizza.
The “crust” is a rice paper cake (as discovered in stop #3). They are grilled and topped with an egg, cheese, corn, green onion, small shrimp, dried chicken, pork and sausage. So it is a sort of a flatbread, but distinctly Vietnamese in flavor. This again is a small snack and was really delicious!
This is one of those things that you could order in a Vietnamese restaurant in the US and they would say, “How the hell do you know about that?!”
While at this stop Nana and Huy gave us a small sheet with some Vietnamese sayings on it. This seemed useful, and in fact said at the top, “Some useful Vietnamese words”, except it wasn’t. Vietnamese is a tonal language.
Picture yourself sitting with your young child and the child says, “Dad…” You would say, somewhat long and slow, “Yesss??” But then the child asks for the 10th time, “Do I really have to go to bed at 8:00?” to which you would say, “YES! with a completely different tone. Same word, different meanings.
Now consider that Vietnamese does that with multiple options on every word! “Pho”, pronounced like “fah” and said with a smiling voice gets you a fabulous bowl of rice noodle soup. Say it with a descending tone, however, and you have likely offended the person in front of you!
So I question how useful it was, but we had fun trying to pronounce them! We did learn how to toast in Vietnamese, and that would prove to be useful! “Mo Hi Bah YO”! It’s basically, “one, two, three, Cheers!”
Our walk back to our motorbikes took us back through the flower markets, and the displays were dazzling! Tomorrow this would all be gone and replaced with new stock!
Our next stop, #5 would be a big one, Bun Cha, or Hanoi-Grilled Pork!