Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ho Chi Minh City - The Lunch Lady

When I travel, I don’t put too much priority on food itself. As long as my stomach is satisfied, I’m OK with it. That’s why there is barely any photos of foods I had for the first two days.

However, things about to change as this post is dedicated to one famous hawker stall brought to fame by celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain, of No Reservation, and her name is Nguyen Thi Thanh, widely known by her moniker, the Lunch Lady. How the story goes? Well, Anthony Bourdain was in Vietnam scouting for good food for his TV show and he was introduced to the Lunch Lady and the rest is history, as the saying goes. The Lunch Lady’s life will never be the same.

The unassuming stall turns out to be national delight

Without the help of Anthony Bourdain, the Lunch Lady definitely will not reach a global audience like what she’s experiencing now. Located at a secluded junction less frequent by tourists, her regular customers are mostly locals and nearby workers. Now, add in Anthony Bourdain’s fans to her list of satisfied customers.

The Lunch Lady, with her big, welcoming smile

There is no fixed menu for the Lunch Lady but rather a unique setting where she’ll serve different noodle soup everyday. It was Thursday when I went for lunch at the Lunch Lady and on every Thursday, she serves Bun Mam.

Bun Mam, what a delicacy...

Freshly made spring roll to accompany the main course...

I can’t guarantee whether hers is the best in Ho Chi Minh City as it is the first and only time I had tasted it. But I can definitely vouch for the fact that it is one of the best meals I had in Vietnam. In fact, writing this entry makes me drooling for this national treasure, with its thick and bowl licking broth, juicy eggplant, shrimp, and pork slices.

That's how bowl-licking it is...

There is not much regret or missed opportunities in my 1-week Vietnam trip but I definitely wish I had gone to the Lunch Lady more frequently to try out its other today’s specials. Total spending for the meal: VND 40,000 (about RM 6.30).


Sharing is caring. A word of advice and a piece of information.

According to some websites, the Lunch Lady’s daily specialties are of the following:

Mondays: Bun Thai
Tuesdays: on rotating basis between pho bo, pho ga, bun moc, banh canh, and mi Quang
Wednesdays: on rotating basis between mi ga tiem, bun ca ri and bun thit nuong cha gio
Thursdays: Bun Mam
Fridays: bun bo Hue
Saturdays: banh canh
Sundays: hu tieu nam vang

The stall is located at 23 Hoong Sa St., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I would strongly suggest you to take either a scooter or a cyclo to take you there instead of walking which was what I did. Unless you enjoys walking, the 30 minutes plus walkathon is not that advisable. 

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