Friday, July 17, 2009

Flour Power

Bot Chien is a favourite pre- and post-class snack for Saigon’s school kids and you’ll nearly always find a vendor eagerly parked outside a school or language centre. I first discovered it when I was working at a school up in Tan Binh District about three years ago as I headed outside for a between-class ca phe da. I saw dozens of little backpacked, black heads clamouring around a single steaming cart, elbowing for space and right of way. My curiosity piqued, I went over, towering over the children to see a vendor furiously scrambling, tossing and adding ingredients to a boiling hot stovetop, colours and flavours flying and I decided right there I had to have it.

Bot Chien is basically fried rice flour (bot gao), mixed with a bit of normal flour, salt and water. When it firms up, it’s cut in lego-sized blocks and fried in a super hot pan. Nui, or macaroni, is added for that extra carb hit, tossed with chopped shallots and onions and an egg is cracked and swirled in to add some consistency and colour as well as to hold it all together. It’s served on top of shredded radish with chilli sauce (tuong ot) and soya sauce (nuoc tuong) for flavouring, and yes it needs a lot, but nothing a bit of saucage overkill can’t cure.

This is a great hold-over between meals, when your stomach is just groaning for some carbs or, more importantly, a greasy hangover snack. From a parental point of view, it will ensure your lovely, darling child will turn into a lucky little Buddha faster than you can say ‘cholesterol issues by age 18’.The friendly vendor in this photo fries her trade outside Marie Curie High School in District 3 and the price for a non-Beer Lao t-shirt wearing foreigner is 10 000 Ho’s, VND.


Anonymous said...

It's "your stomach", not "you're stomach", if you are (you're can be used here) teaching english it would be useful if you knew how the english language works.

henno said...

I'm shamed! Yes, I'm aware of the differences in grammar and meaning, but unfortunately this is what often happens to me when I attempt a blog post in the morning before I've (that is 'I have') had my morning coffee(s)! My old journalism prof at uni would have cringed and scribbled big, dripping red lines all over it had she been privy to such a horrendous error. My bad. Please forgive me.

Anonymous said...

awwww heh heh okay I forgive you :P
lol nice reply, most people would take offense and be nasty back :) make sure you never run out of coffee Henno :)

Have a good weekend, or since you're ahead, hope it is good so far :P

Mikeachim said...

The shame belongs to anonymous for gracelessly nitpicking an error in a beautifully written post.

Albeit a post that gave me passive indigestion. ;)

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