The beginning doesn't bear thinking about. There's oil and butter cooking together, forming fatty golden suds.
Which will by dinner's end be coating my insides and squirting onwards to my heart. I console myself with the knowledge that humans need a quantity of fat in their diet. I've heard that rumour anyway but have never done the end bit of research as to why.
Probably to kill us! I mean we have to die of something.
As further ingredients are laid in the spitting yellow pond, I find myself clearly at the pointy end of the healthy diet pyramid. Crinkle cut chips and red meat go swimming. Any greenery in the picture is garnish mistakenly set adrift.
I'm revisiting the street-food phenomenon of '07, bo nuong (grilled beef). At this establishment alongside the railway viaduct at the top end of the Old Quarter, it is a definite misnomer...while the meat is clearly beef, grill is the wrong cooking verb. The food here is being fat-ified!
The beef comes in a huge clump of diced pieces in the midst of sad salad bits; a couple of slices of tomato, one slice of eggplant, a few spring onions and lettuce leaves. The burner upon which the meal is cooked is fueled by white paraffin pucks lit by our 16 year-old waitress, who expertly lifts the griddle plate with two chopsticks each time the flame diminishes.
During this rather blokey culinary experience - meat, spuds, butter, bread - we rather predictably keep ourselves lubricated with beer. Lots of it. Served in plastic tumblers. But we do order a side serve of female bits. The udders (nam) are grilled up separately, arriving ridged in black and tender with some give in the bite.
At meal's end, I flee before the fat on the hot plate congeals to remind me of what may very well be occuring inside me.
One serve beef, one serve udder, chips, several beers - 210,000VND (USD$11, AUD$12)
Hoan Kiem District