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The Curious Monkey Goes To ...

Saigon.

Surprise!

I didn’t think I’d be able to produce another blog post so quickly but Saigon proved to be more inspiring than I expected. My original idea was to write about Vietnamese street food. We certainly ate plenty of it in Ho Chi Minh City. Pho turns out to be a breakfast food: a beef or chicken soup served cellophane noodles and a plate of fresh bean sprouts, assorted herbs, lime and chili peppers. Bun cha is another kind of soup noodle, this time with roasted pork. 

Then there’s the pancakes called banh xeo made of a thin rice batter filled with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts, torn then wrapped in lettuce or basil leaves and dipped into a bowl of spicy fish sauce. And, our absolute favorite, Vietnamese coffee. Cà phê đá is the one I like: black and iced with a bit of simple syrup to cut the bitterness, but without the condensed milk.

You’d think all these tasty tidbits could fill a blog post. Instead, I ran into stories of Saigon: old versus new, little versus imagined. You can read about those tales in Saigon Stories.

One of those tales comes from a Saigon novel I just read: Monkey Bridge by Lan Cao, the first Vietnamese-American novel to come out after the end of the Vietnam War. You can read my review: Ancestor Worship.

Next stop? The Curious Monkey Goes to ... Angkor Wat.

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