The dragon boats are floating up and down Hue’s Perfume River as Mom and I sit under the canopy of the Truong Tien Bridge.
Who’d want to eat in a dreary restaurant when you can get energy from this? The smell of barbecue hits you like a sixth sense, it takes over your body and you can’t help but be enticed. There’s fish, beef, pork, and pancakes swirling and sizzling their way across the wok.
Here, the women are clearly the bosses.
They’re like cyclones, parading through orders, barking at each other and getting everything done. All with strength and good humour. We watch as a group of women opposite us have an argument and then immediately make up and carry on.
A woman stirring the oil for the next pancake has a cigarette dangling from her mouth while her other hand every so often throws ingredients in.
Clearing for the tables for the evening, she tosses the cans of local beer to the side to a pile that will steadily increase during the night. A break in the stream of people sees one of the women grab her dinner and eat but yet not missing an opportunity to wave in new customers.
Completely dolled up with a smack of red on her lips, it’s amusing to watch her toss the rice around making sure it gets a good battering in the pan.
We sit on Vietnam’s classic street food stools; too low for our Western ways with our legs embarrassingly sticking out like awkward chopsticks.
The night is balmy.
Our food arrives and immediately makes its way to our mouths. The smell would make even the fullest man wolf it down. Instagram photos are not a priority here.
If you’re looking for a quiet meal this is not the place to go. It’s loud, messy, chaotic and totally brilliant.