Night 2 – Oct. 5
Along the way, I noticed that motorcycles are indeed a popular form of transportation here, and a large portion of the population use one to go anywhere.
By the time we got ourselves in a rather flooded part of HCMC, I thought yup, it really felt like I was in Metro Manila.
After Mom died, he tried to keep himself busy with work and a lot of matters. It was a hard time of mourning for us. Anyway, he left last May due to an assignment, and now he has been working on a cargo ship that goes around parts of Southeast Asia.
After a few hours of catching up, talking, and singing at Kim’s karaoke machine, it was time for dinner.
First up was a plate of stir-fried noodles with mixed vegetables and seafood. They were lightly oiled and seasoned, but very flavorful. Heavy stuff on the belly, actually.
Wait, I’ve never seen shrimps or prawns this big. They tasted quite juicy and fresh, and I could feel some sort of a crunch in my mouth as I bit through the thick flesh. It’s so hard to describe this great-tasting prawn-shrimp creature. The salt-chili dip thing that came with it also made it more delicious.
Finally came a big deep-fried grouper with a chili-vinegar dip, and some dried, shredded squid. We were already full at this point, but they were so good, somehow we regained the urge to eat.
By now, we’ve eaten kilos of shrimps and clams, spoonfuls of crab meat and fat, gram after gram of freshly cooked fish, rice, vegetables, and spices. We’ve eaten so much, our host must really mean to show us how hospitable the Vietnamese are, how rich and healthy their cuisine is, and why their seafood – a major part of their cuisine – makes Vietnam a great place to dine in.
We spent the rest of the night singing and drinking (okay, it was just red wine). By then, Dad’s coworkers have arrived at the shop to dine, drink beer, and hang out. Now that I think about it, there aren’t a lot of shops near the port, aside from the banh mi stalls nearby. It’s like hanging out near Manila’s Port Area. There aren’t a lot of places to buy merchandise. No wonder Kim’s shop is doing well.
MC left the hotel about midnight to meet up with a friend. He said this guy has been based here for a few years now, and he promised to show him around some of HCMC’s night spots. Lucky him.
After several minutes of watching Vietnamese-dubbed anime (which I don’t obviously understand), I went out of the hotel, walked around the vicinity, bought a few beers and cigarettes, and resumed reading “A Cook’s Tour” in the room. I was just about to fall asleep when MC returned.
By the way, I found out the name of that anime I saw. It was a Chinese cartoon called “Princess Cassee” or “Ori Princess.”
Up next… A taste of Ho Chi Minh City’s classy lifestyle, and then some.