Dinner in Saigon

In response to the question “So what do you cook over there in Vietnam ? Rice ?” I thought I’d take a photo of last night’s dinner. Not because it was overly fascinating. I just enjoyed making it.

See, I don’t have a kitchen. I live in a one bedroom apartment with my wife. We’re not really allowed to cook because the plumbing in the rooms is not designed for it and they would clog easily. Actually we do cook a bit, but the maid cleans our dishes !

As a result my cooking facilities consist of a chopping board, a rice cooker, and a kettle on the coffee table. You’d be surprised what you can cook with a kettle. At first I was a bit depressed about my lack of cooking facilities until a lightbulb went on and I thought “Hey hold on. 90% of what Vietnamese people eat is boiled anyway. I can just boil anything in my kettle”. So I do. You want to cook vegetables ? Throw them into the kettle and boil them. Eggs ? Kettle. Pork ? Boil that too. It’s not as weird as you might think. I know I initially cringed and went “Eww, boiled pork ? That sounds gross”.

It’s not. It’s great. It’s healthy and easy to do. Yes, boiled meat does taste a bit bland on its own because it lacks the juices that you get from frying or grilling it. But you don’t eat it plain. You put it into a curry sauce or you dip it in soy sauce and chilli. It’s fantastic. Also, the water from cooking the pork makes an excellent tasty soup as well. Sometimes I save it and have it with noodles for a snack later in the evening. Waste not, want not.

So last night’s meal was this:

Rice, boiled eggs, bok choy and chinese cabbage (boiled), some fresh tomato marinated in olive oil, salt and umami seasoning and some pork (boiled again !) and a bowl of soy sauce with a love heart drawn in it in chilli sauce. Oh and a couple of small glasses of Korean soju ! After dinner we had fuji apples as it’s common in Vietnam to finish a meal with some fruit.

Absolutely delicious dinner, colourful with a wide variety of flavours.

That’s what I cook for a typical dinner in Vietnam.

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