Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cheap Eats: Breakfast in Vietnam

This morning I popped out of bed and decided I wanted to go and try bun bo Hue for breakfast. I had seen it on the breakfast menu of my favourite vegetarian restaurant, and and though it was twice as expensive as the usual breakfast item, pho, at only about 1.15 USD a bowl it was still a steal.

The vegetarian version of this soup from Hue has vegetarian beef and rice noodles and is flavoured with chilies and lemongrass. The main difference between pho noodles and bun noodles is that bun noodles are thin and round, and made fresh as I don't think they can be found dry. The soup also came with wedges of lime, more chilies (as if at the start of a 35+ degree day you really want to load up on the chilies), and a plate of fresh herbs and leafy greens.

It was different than what I am used to eating for breakfast: toast or cereal. No real Vietnamese would ever toast up some bread and spread it with peanut butter. It's still pretty rare to find a toaster or even an oven in the typical Vietnamese household.

The other day I introduced Diep to cereal. He didn't know what it was, but when I described it to him, he instantly knew what I was talking about. He had seen it on TV and in movies. Eager to try this new food, he followed me in the kitchen where I filled up a bowl with granola. He wasn't sure what to do next, so I instructed him to pour milk in the bowl. I had to do it for him, as he wasn't sure how much to put in.

In the end, he didn't really like it. It was cold and sweet. Something he just wasn't used to eating in the morning. I thought maybe we could alternate breakfasts between eating sticky rice and tofu (which is what he's been making) and cereal.

Oh well. I guess I'll just have to get used to eating more Vietnamese breakfasts, or risk him leaving so early in the morning.... trying to escape my dry toast and cold wet cereal!

Maybe tomorrow I'll get the 60-cent pho bo chay.


Rebel said...

I'm sorry... have I missed something? Who is Diep?

Jonathan said...

You found me out. I was trying to slip it in there nonchalantly... Diep is someone i am seeing.

Nga said...

Have you been to a vegetarian restaurant in 116 ally 166 Kim Ma, It is soooooo cheap and delicious of course there, one of my favourite ;)

Jonathan said...

Hey Nga,

Yeah, this is that restaurant!

Rebel said...

=) =) =) =)

Reese said...

mmmm that looks really good!
I love noodles