The jet lag seems to have passed, and we’re waking up feeling pretty good this morning. Cat has been wanting to fit in some of the weird food that we aren’t going to be able to get in the rest of the country, so for breakfast we head just down the street from the hotel to have Mien Luon eel soup. The restaurant was down an alley, but looked nice and clean inside. Of course they pulled the “the price we quoted was for the small bowl and you got the large bowl”. We’re finding Vietnam, at least Saigon, to be very similar to Cuba in that regard. Everyone is trying to get you for a few extra dollars on every transaction. Unfortunately they were also selling Bánh Tráng Trộn, and even though there was a bit of a disagreement on the way out of the restaurant, we wanted to try it. So we spent another 10,000 vnd and walked back to the hotel with our dry seasoned rice paper bag.
This soup was delicious. Unfortunately, it would later lead to Cat’s undoing.
The broth was delicious, the glass noodles were perfectly cooked, and the eel was flavorful and crunchy. I didn’t eat very much of the eel because I just don’t like eel. I don’t really like it in sushi back home, or in any of the other forms that I’ve tried it. So Cat ate all of the eel in the soup. We would barely make it through the next meal before we had to urgently return to the hotel.
The food was good, and the place was clean. It’s possible that it was something else that made Cat sick, but we think it has to be the eel. Here is a review of the restaurant, and it came recommended by someone we trust, so don’t count it out all together if you’re visiting Saigon; just be aware.
Bánh Tráng Trộn. This would normally be eaten as a salad with other ingredients added, but we ate it like a snack of dried rice paper. It is seasoned with a salty, citrus, chili powder.
Cat writing her postcards at the East West Brewing Company. This is the only other instance where we didn’t eat or drink the same thing, so it’s possible that the beer is what made her sick.
But this place was super modern, incredibly clean, and filled with white people. So it doesn’t seem like the culprit.
For lunch we met up with Aunt Maika and headed over to Pizza 4 P’s. This was probably the closest thing to a Western meal we’ve eaten (other than McDonald’s of course).
The design of the restaurant was modern and slick. Big, steel pizza ovens with glowing flames lighting the inside set the backdrop for the artisan pizza chefs kneading dough.
First dish. Proscuitto wrapped Mozarella.
This is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It was a fresh made burrata on top of exotic fruits including dragon fruit, watermelon, mango, and grapefruit.
Proscuitto wrapped mango with a thick passion fruit sauce.
The famous 4 P’s crab pasta.
Half seaweed and calamari, half beef and basil. The beef was flavored like Korean BBQ and cut thin like Shabu Shabu. The seaweed and squid was a surprisingly nice combination on a pizza.
The 5 cheese pizza. There are also small jars of honey to drizzle over the pizza.
It’s at this point that our day takes a turn for the worse. Cat started feeling sick right around the time the first pizza hit the table. By the time we were eating the second pizza it was clear that we urgently needed to leave. While she thought she could push through and make it to the post office and Notre Dame church, it became obvious that would not be possible. So once I got her back in the room and situated, I headed out for a walk. I felt bad leaving her, but she insisted that I not be confined to the room.
So I walked for a couple of hours during the day.
And another couple of hours at night.
At the convenience store in the US we sell hot dogs and pizza. In Vietnam they sell takoyaki and fish balls.
Today was obviously not our best day in Saigon. Cat spent the latter half of the day curled up in the fetal position fighting stomach cramps. Something about the different food, climate, and time zone has gotten her pretty down and out. I hope tomorrow we can spend the day together and enjoy the city. Mostly I hope that she isn’t as miserable as today.