“Open from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm” just about sounds like the most inconvenient hours for a restaurant anywhere in the world.
But when you’re the Duck Nazi, you don’t give a shit about your customers. You don’t give a damn about the money. And you sure as hell don’t care about the ducks. So why open at all?
Maybe because—if you’re the Duck Nazi—you just want to watch the world burn.
NO DUCK FOR YOU!
Just kidding, the people who own this restaurant are really nice.
Still, I’m always intrigued by restaurants with a gimmick—rotating menus, limited hours of operation, human flesh, etc.
Sometimes the gimmick is just a gimmick, but not today. Today is about the duck—the bird Thanksgiving deserves, but not the one it needs right now.
I always think of duck as the polar opposite of turkey; the endpoints on a line with chicken right in the middle. Turkey is the Dust Bowl and duck is the Exxon Valdez.
I’ve had my share of greasy, soggy duck in Saigon. What’s one more, right?
I don’t even think this place has a name. The only hint that you’re in the right spot is a small sign fastened to the wall at the address—itself a smaller alley within an alley. If you get here around 3 or 3:15—and you should—the alley will be packed with motorcycles already.
Head past the bikes and turn right. Continue to the end, and find an empty seat in the front yard or living room. Now get ready to wait.
The Duck Nazi serves just two dishes—bún măng vịt and gỏi vịt, which translate to duck and bamboo shoot noodle soup and duck salad, respectively. Customers’ orders are taken, and the food is magically (as is often the case in Vietnam) brought out in the exact order you arrived at the restaurant.
It’s really amazing watching the few dozen people at each meal turn around to gawk once the chef’s cleaver starts moving. With each thwack, the artist formerly known as duck is transformed into a bounty of chunks, slices and pieces. Finally, like a cool rain moving in after an oppressive summer afternoon, your food arrives.
The duck plays well with both the bun and the goi. Its fattiness is a great complement to the tangy bamboo shoots in the soup and the fresh cabbage and onions in the salad. Plus you’ve got a heavenly citrus-ginger fish sauce to dunk your meat in.
The only thing I can say disappointed me about this hidden duck enclave is that I didn’t know you could order the organs. Leaving, I passed a table piled high with livers, kidneys and all sorts of tasty bits. I messed up. Learn from my mistakes.
I spent about 3 bucks for soup and salad. Not bad. If you like ducks and are rarely late, I highly recommend taking a trip to the Duck Nazi.
Address: 281/26 Lê Văn Sỹ, Tân Bình Ward