One day in Saigon, three things on our laundry list: eat at Anthony Bourdain’s Lunch Lady, eat banh mi, and drink beer. We know, we’re very easy to please.
The banh mi and beer were easy enough; the first one seemed less so, as we had no idea where we were and where she was, but seeing as Ho Chi Minh looked like a proper Asian city with good roads, neon signs, and Louis Vuitton shops, finding her location would be a walk in the park.
But as the heavens would have it, we did spend a good chunk of our day getting lost around Saigon’s never-ending roads, with very little money and too many wrong maps at our disposal. It didn’t help that we didn’t have Internet connection on the go, and that most of our attempts at asking for directions were reduced to flimsy sign language and lame drawings.
In the end, our feet sore and tempers high, we did manage to finally sit on one of the Lunch Lady’s small plastic chairs and order a bowl each of her day’s specialty. We didn’t exactly worship it however, mainly because it had bamboo shoots (which both of us don’t really like). Portions were huge, and the broth was actually pretty good. We also ended up paying more than we thought we should, seeing as the stuff shoved into our tables (a plate each of fresh spring rolls and fried spring rolls, which we ate thinking they were included in our order of pho), turned out to be from the neighboring stalls, and, well, were not free. Almost cash-strapped, we walked (again) on the way back to our Airbnb rental — which turned out to be a good three kilometers away! — thinking out loud about our English teachers and how we are very thankful they came to our lives.
Did we think Saigon was a bad job? Of course not.
It is its own kind of crazy, but it’s actually one of those cities we think we could live in — streets are walkable, Internet (when present) is fast, food is glorious and cheap, and the ca phe sua da is f*cking amazing.