As I said last week, my intention was to go back to Turtle Towers the next morning for another bowl of pho; that happened. This time I ordered chicken. (It was certainly not going to be a vegan-before-six day; my travel days rarely are.) The broth was deeply soothing, the noodles silken, the chicken itself not overcooked. And I wisely ordered a “small” this time.
Then I headed across the street to Saigon Sandwiches (560 Larkin). I was after a few bánh mi, and I got them. They were good, though I’ve had better. (Sorry. I’d like to be raving, but if you rave about everything the truth loses impact. And they were a helluva lot better than the junk they were serving on the plane. Sheesh.)
However. While I was there, I picked up two different banana-leaf-wrapped items and a bag of “garlic peanuts.” I don’t know what the wrapped things are called; I’ve had similar ones before, and I could guess at their name, but I’d be wrong. (They’re probably bánh-something-or-other, since bánh is a kind of generic word that refers to almost anything filled or stuffed.)
The first is next to my bánh mi, and in the next pic too; it’s a little pyramid of coconut, peanuts, sugar, fish sauce, mixed with sticky rice and wrapped in mochi. (That’s the Japanese word for the marshmallow-like glutinous rice mixture; again, forgive me; I don’t know what it’s called in Vietnamese. Sometimes I just eat ’em, I don’t think about ’em.) The whole thing is in turn wrapped in a banana leaf.
I gotta tell you, had I known how good this thing was going to be I would’ve bought 12. A fantastic not-too-sweet dessert or not-especially-savory non-dessert. Perfect snack, is what it was.
I was disappointed by my other two purchases. One was a long log, filled with sticky rice that was in turn filled with pork and yellow beans. Beautiful, isn’t it? But it wasn’t as well spiced as the coconut job.
And the garlic peanuts? Great concept. But bitter garlic powder. Win some, lose some. It’s all fun.