We asked our guide to bring us some place to try com hen. We had initially wanted to eat at 28 Truong Dinh Road which someone helpfully recommended here. When we got there, there were no customers and someone was sitting in the shop with his bare feet propped up on the table. I had full frontal view of the soles of his feet. I was a bit put off and we picked another shop further down the street. The kitchen was a makeshift shack with pickled vegetables in huge aluminum vats. A lady was putting together plate after plate of com hen with her bare hands. The dish is eaten cold (so errrr... no heat to kill germs).
The Husband looked a warning at me... especially since the hotel receptionist had spoken about pickled vegetables that might upset any non-Vietnamese stomach. But I was there and I wanted to eat. It was a foolhardy decision but I did want to try the local dish. Stubbornly, I ordered 3 portions of com hen.
I was about to tuck in when the guide gave us a bowl of broth pictured above and said in his English that didn't sound like English "For safety... for safety... you drink... don't worry. For stomach. Don't worry." Why is it that when people tell me not to worry that I immediately begin to get anxious? So we stared at our 3 portions of com hen wondering whether to tuck in or not. The dish looked good but what of stomach safety?
I tasted the broth and noted that the key ingredient was garlic. That is what I use against stomach poisoning at home. So I tucked in gladly and drank up the garlic broth. We then went back to the hotel and chopped up cloves of raw garlic from my first aid travel kit... chewed... swallowed. So far, so good. No one has yet fallen sick.
The Husband however, is adamant that com hen is the last street food experiment he will undertake. Since then, he insists that we eat at nice hotel restaurants (but psssssst... he doesn't know what happens in the kitchens eh?) and he will only eat dishes that are piping hot. I have to be a good girl and do likewise.
He is wise, The Husband.