Just a quickie today.
Across the road from my house we have a noodle vendor.
As Tom Jones once so famously said, "It's not unusual", especially in a city of noodle vendors like Da Nang, but she does have something quite special.
I usually go for the Bun Bo – a thin rice noodle in a beef and lemongrass broth with strips of slow braised beef that melt in the mouth.
Crouched on a plastic stool at 7am slurping broth, surrounded by wide staring eyes, one feels pretty good. And unusual. But good.
I am the token foreigner in this neighbourhood, all the more unusual because I don't stick to buying imported muesli for breakfast from ocean mart.
This means I'm ripe pickings for anyone who wants to see how a foreigner copes with a bowl of noodles.
A bit intimidating at first, but after a few cities it becomes a regular theme and the people of Da Nang are the friendliest bunch I've met on my travels around this little blue and green rock.
I think of it now as 'eat and amuse the locals' time.
The real deal for brekky here in Da Nang is Mi Quang.
This is a thick rice noodle on top of some salad, moistened with a drizzle of broth and some bony chunks of flesh from your choice of pigs or chicken.
The good part about this tends to be the Banh Trang rice crackers which poke out of the top like billowing sails . The bad part is usually the frenzied wrestling that I end up doing with the bones in order to chew and suck the remnants of meat off them.
My saviour across the road has the ingenious solution of offering a Mi Quang made with the same incredibly tender strips of boneless beef that she uses in the bun bo.
I succumbed, and tucked into a bowlful for breakfast this morning, hoovering them up like an anteater in a poorly kept lolly shop.
The noodles are thick and chewy and they get plopped on top of a bed of lettuce, bean sprouts and herbs.
Next step is a liberal sprinkling of freshly roasted peanuts, and a boiled egg gets pitched into the side of the bowl for good measure.
Not being a morning person, I had to resist the urge to stab her about the head, chest and abdomen with a chopstick for failing to have the fried rice crackers – but it was so good anyway that by the end I was satisfied without them.
We do a cracking Mi Quang at the hotel.
I know that we don't have plastic chairs and that hotels can't possibly be as good as a haggard old lady when it comes to making nice food
But my team of 54 local chefs don't know that yet, and against the odds they pump out an outstanding Mi Quang with a huge fresh salad selection, the rice crackers erect and ready for action, and a boneless chicken in broth that makes your toes curl. in a nice way.
At my last apartment, the local quang vendor offered a bowl of noodles tied together in holy matrimony with a long black hair, which I discovered halfway through the meal.
While I am a fairly hardy eater, this unwanted addition did make my eyeballs bulge and had me steering away from the bony offering. Bones and hair is great on a size 8 supermodel, but bad in a noodle breakfast
My lady across the road has me back in the mood for Mi Quang at breakfast. So much so, that I may even have them again for lunch at work.
Have a great day, and do try out a Mi Quang if you find a good one.