Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vietnam - Day 3: Grill Restaurant!

After a long day of sightseeing and fresh manicures, Tony and his family took us to Nam Bo, AKA "The Grill Restaurant".  We were told over and over again about the grill, and how fun it was, but we had no idea until we were really there.  After a taxi ride, we were dumped in what appeared to be a residential area, except for the massive amounts of people coming in and out of a fluorescent three-storied restaurant!  Nam Bo! 

Instead of a hostess stand, there were 5 or 6 grills roasting piglets as you walked in.  Again, the whole no A/C thing led to this being an open air restaurant.  Everything was just like a normal restaurant except there were no walls!  (These piglets were delicious by the way).

We were seated upstairs and our first (of maybe 7 or 8) course was brought out.

First were little small green pickled something or others (a cucumber relative maybe?) and fertilized soft-boiled quail eggs with hot pepper salt.  The pickled veggie was delicious and I ate loads of them. 

Others in the group were sucking these little quaillings down, but there was something about the fertilized part that skeeved me out.  I was told it was just like a hard-boiled egg and so I finally tried one.

One, I tell you.  ONE.  It wasn't horrible I don't guess, but I don't like my eggs crunchy, sorry.

One thing I DID like was the Tiger beer.  Tiger beer is not a Viet beer, but it was delicious.  Perfect for the drinking game in the restaurant.  Essentially the restaurant was set up into long tables, as this seemed to be a place where everyone brought all their family and friends for dinner.  Then each table would "cheers" each other by screaming "MOT, HAI, BA, YO!" (Sounds like Mo, Hi, Ba, YO!)  It means One-Two-Three-YO! in Vietnamese.

This isn't us, but it gets the idea across.  Now imagine each table, of about 12-20 each screaming this in a competition.  You couldn't let a table near you be louder than you, God forbid.  So we were cheersing to anything ("Oh, you ate a bite of food? Hooray!  Let's Cheer!!!")  

They didn't chill their beer - instead they had glass sized chunks of ice that they kept in buckets scattered around the restaurant.  I had heard all kinds of stories about not eating ice or drinking the water in Vietnam, and for the most part, I kept to bottled water.  But I couldn't drink a hot beer!  And nothing bad happened. 

Now back to the food.  At this point, we still weren't sure exactly what the draw was, and that's when they brought out the grills.  And the coals.  And the wooden chopsticks for handling the raw foodstuffs to cook on the grills.

First up: SHRIMPY-SHRIMPS.  Now, I'm deathly allergic to shellfish, so I did not partake in these little critters (besides, shellfish are SEA BUGS, so ew anyway).  But I did take the role of helping cook the little buggers while Ryan, Eric and Richard ate them.

MmmMmmm, scrimps.

Eric turning the prawns.

Next up: GOAT UDDER.  I made Ryan cook it and try it all by himself (I couldn't do it).  Here he goes...

Aaaaahhhh!   He said it was "udderly delicious", hahaha!

I stole this pic from Lisa - it shows all the food we had that night in a fancy composition.  She's talented like that.

The bottom right was my favorite - it was the little suckling pigs that they were roasting at the front door.  It was juicy and the skin was so so crispy, and it was served with these little bun bao kind of bread puffs.  They looked like marshmallows and were almost as sweet.

Here are the peeps at dinner.

Tony and little Tony - we wanted to steal him, but his parents said no.

Ryan's stuffed.  And not drunk.  That's because he cheersed with Coke.

We tore up the food and literally destroyed our area.  We ate and ate and grilled and ate and cheered and drank and ate and cheered some more.  

This is the wreckage we left behind!  MOT-HAI-BA-YO!!!

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