I’d say the most difficult thing about moving is not knowing where to get your ____ fix, with ____ being your favorite food. And for me ____ happens to include most dishes.
The prospect of waking up the first morning at my new place and not knowing where to eat was, frankly, terrifying enough to make me stock up on instant noodles. My rationale was that if I spent more than an hour looking for food, I would come back home and eat some of the finest space food this side of the Pacific rather than wander aimlessly for all eternity.
The cornerstone of my food pyramid in Vietnam is rice. Meaning, I get a plate of rice accompanied by many, many servings of meat. My go-to rice place was an exhausting ten-minute drive away now, so I needed to find a new number-one stunner.
The roads near my new apartment are confusing as shit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned onto a road thinking it would lead to or from my road, but it turned out to actually be my road. It doesn’t matter how many turns you make, you can never leave.
One time I managed to escape the labyrinth and got lost down one of a thousand nearby alleys. My mission: find a cheap place to refuel on grilled meat and fried eggs. The rice would have to wait, though.
This particular alley was home to a fantastic restaurant I’d eaten at once many months ago, forgot about, then randomly found without knowing where it was or how to get there. I think it’s one of those places that only exists if you believe in it.
The restaurant is called Ò Ó O—henceforth referred to as O, which is the Vietnamese onomatopoeia for a rooster (cock-a-doodle-doo). O serves up delicious, nutritious grilled garden chicken. Garden chicken is what we might call organic or free-range, and charge $70 a pound for. 100 years ago it was just called chicken.
A whole chicken—and I mean whole, from the kidneys to the beak—runs about 8 bucks/139k VND. My personal favorite is the one with honey glaze, but all of the flavors are great. They have several to choose from, including a type of Chinese BBQ sauce and a chili citrus seasoning.
You can also order half-and-half for a couple bucks more if you want to try more than one flavor. That’s exactly what I did. You can also order this delicious chicken and egg soup for a few dollars if you’re really hungry. That’s also exactly what I did.
If you prefer to think of your food as meat instead of “the artist formerly known as chicken” then you probably shouldn’t eat here. You’re going to see people (me) gnawing on spines and faces. You’re going to see folks (me) stirring their soup with a severed chicken foot.
But it tastes good, and that’s what matters.
O has 3 locations in Saigon. I went to the one on Le Van Sy street because that was the one fate threw in front of me. Check out their website or their Facebook page if you want to find out more (with Google Translate).
Helpful hint—bring some wet napkins with you. You can buy some at the restaurant but you’re going to use more than one. Or if you’re a barbarian, buy a loaf of bread and use that to clean your hands and face instead.
Anyone in the area want to grab some grilled brains and ass with me?
Address: 220/58 Lê Văn Sỹ, Ward 14, District 3
Phone: 0903 348 960