Eat authentic Vietnamese gumbo at Saigon market

By Linh Sea    December 29, 2018 | 06:17 pm PT
Eat authentic Vietnamese gumbo at Saigon market
A bowl of Vietnamese gumbo costs $1.29. Photo by Linh Sea
A stall in Pho Co Dieu Market serves authentic Vietnamese gumbo 'bun mam', a signature dish in Vietnam's southwestern region.

Originally from Cambodia, vermicelli, broth and the aroma of fish sauce make bun mam (fermented thick Vietnamese vermicelli soup) a simple but wonderful dish.

In the food court at District 11's Pho Co Dieu Market (previously called Thiec Market in Saigon), amid a number of food stalls run by ethnic Chinese is a popular stall selling Vietnamese gumbo originating from the southwestern region.

Its owner, Thuy, who has been running the restaurant for six years, said her mother, who hailed from the southwestern region, taught her how to cook authentic Vietnamese gumbo.

Every day many local Chinese come to this restaurant as a change from their usual food.

The original broth is made from the Cambodian prahok dipping sauce. But in Vietnam the sauce is often replaced by fish sauce. The broth has a strong aroma, clear brown color and the natural sweetness of fish.

Thuy's restaurant offers customers fish, shrimp, chicken, pork, and pork rolls to choose from. When a bowl is brought out, guests are drawn to the fresh red shrimps and attractive white snakehead fish and pork rolls.

The owner of the restaurant also uses pork rolls as a side dish to add more flavor to the dish. There is no stuffed bell pepper or fish cake but you can feel the flavor of the dish when you dip each ingredient in sweet and sour tamarind sauce.

The dish is also served with raw spinach, finely chopped banana, bean sprouts, or fish lettuce. A bowl of Vietnamese gumbo costs VND30,000 ($1.29) and is served for breakfast and lunch.

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