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Page 4

picture of restaurant store front with signage hidden by tree limbs


Knowing I'm a huge fan of "cơm rang" (fried rice), a friend of mine recently invited me to lunch at a cơm rang restaurant she knew was in my neighborhood. Always eager to “discover” a new place to eat, I quickly accepted the invitation. 

Oh the irony.

In the past, had I wished to further my culinary experiences by simply walking a mere 20 feet farther down the sidewalk from my favorite roast pig restaurant (the one I told you about previously), I would have arrived at the very cơm rang restaurant where we ate lunch…who knew? …clearly I didn't. 

In my defense, however, with the exception of those unique streets in the Old Quarter that are *specialty streets, every street I've ever walked down in Hanoi has an overwhelming number of restaurants and street-food-vendors mixed in among, next to, or in front of businesses of all sorts. This means when walking down the sidewalk, a person can easily experience sensory overload and screen out of their awareness, that which is right in front of them. Now, add a bit of omnipresent street noise, rush of humanity, ubiquitous parking of motorbikes on sidewalks, hyper-vigilance in order to avoid being run over by motorbikes being driven down the only open space on the sidewalk, and pretty soon everything can easily coalesce into an almost surreal experience. An experience where only the most unique of stimuli will ever make it into your conscious awareness. So, yeah, I missed it.

Regarding the cơm rang restaurant, as you can see from the picture above, it doesn't help that the signage above the door is not highly visible. I know, you are probably saying:

Come-on…it's the angle you're taking the picture from, Paul. You're just trying to make us think this is reality."

It's nothing more than smoke and mirrors, trickery! you decry! 

"Just take the picture from a better angle, and all will be right in the world!"

Well, not true. On this particular street these restaurants are set back a good 15-25 feet from the road, and, setting in front of them are bunches of tables and chairs underneath hanging tree branches or huge patio umbrellas. Additionally, at meal times, there are people sitting at these tables eating. So…this is the best shot of the signage; the signage just can't be seen from the street. So easy to miss!

If my emerging Vietnamese language skills are accurate, the signage says:

A. Trọng                                               Owner's Name
Cơm chiên giòn                                  Rice crispy fried 
Đùi Gà quay Đà Nẵng                        Thighs Chicken roasted Da Nang (Da Nang style Roasted Chicken Thighs)

I'll tell you more about this restaurant's menu on the next page.

*There are streets in the Old Quarter where every store on the street sells the same product, For example, pots and pans, or door knobs, or paper hats, or pottery, etc.





p. 3, p. 5