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Every single thing I’ve eaten in Saigon has been delicious. Seriously, there have been no average meals, not even any quite nice meals. They’ve all been transporting and wonderful and I want to blog all of them. I’ve a pile-up of notes and photos that I can’t possibly post quickly enough. So I am going to skip to the end, to our last meal in Vietnam, which was a fitting end to a truly wonderful trip. And never fear, at home I’m going to catch up on all those other memorable meals, and gradually post about the restaurants, the markets and the mysterious purchases…but for now, I can’t wait any longer to tell you about the unexpected pleasures of Vietnamese snail soup!
I had had Bún Ôc Thanh Hai on my “Things To Do: Urgent” list for Saigon, but for some strange reason, I could never persuade Mr Lemur that now was the moment for snails. I kept telling him that several trustworthy sources had written great things about it, but weirdly he was unpersuaded. We postponed it day after day until we only had our final day in town left. And then something wonderful happened: I saw on Facebook that a good friend from Iowa was at the airport in Cedar Rapids, leaving for Ho Chi Minh City. ZOMG! I replied quickly, letting her know that we were in Saigon, but worried that she wouldn’t get the message if she had no internet when she arrived. Several hours of modern communication hilarity ensued, with email, Facebook, this blog, cell phones and Skype all being called into use to establish contact. Finally we got in touch and arranged to have lunch on her first day, our last one. But…I still really wanted to go to the snail restaurant. Could Awesome Photographer M be persuaded to leap into Vietnamese food hardcore on her first day? Mr Lemur sagely recommended that I not lead with the snails. It’s a highly recommended local cafe, I said. They’re known for this one dish but it’s a full-service restaurant, I’m sure you can have something else if you don’t fancy it. Happily, she was in. Read the rest of this entry »