No name, no signboard, the bread cart of a woman over 50 years old has been around for nearly 30 years in Can Tho.
Bread carts sell special time frames in the West
The story of the shops selling at night is not a strange thing in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, or other cities that develop tourism. However, in the West, life and things go quite smoothly, so there are very few shops open at night. A highlight in the map of night food in the West is not the lack of a ghost bread cart that has existed for 30 years. Located in the city center, at the beginning of alley 20, Nguyen Trai Street (Cai Khe Ward, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City), the banh mi cart is the favorite address of “night owls”.
If you ask Can Tho people where they usually eat late at night, many people will probably point to the bread cart located on Nguyen Trai Street. The bread cart without a sign does not have many cumbersome tools, just a small trolley about 1m2 wide and an additional foam box for cakes, and a small charcoal stove for barbecue. Because there is no sign, the locals have named the shop according to the opening hours, some call it “ghost bread”, others call it “hell bread”.
The small bread cart is always crowded, so you have to wait about 15-20 minutes to have a cake.
And another strange point is the bread cart run by all U60 women selling late at night. Bread cart owned by Mrs. Pham Ngoc Anh (53 years old, Can Tho). At first, she stood alone to sell, but later, it was crowded with customers, so she hired 4 more women near the house to sell. Then the bread cart continued to exist for 30 years. Not open for sale during the day, bread carts only sell from 10 pm to 24 pm until the cake runs out. If you stand here, you will witness the bustling scene, the long line of people and the noise of buyers and sellers.
The familiar scene often seen in bread carts, long lines of people to enjoy the special bread.
When asked the reason for choosing such a time frame, Ms. Anh said: “In the past, they sold from 12 pm or 1-2 am, but in the past, we have changed the time to sell earlier. It affects my health, sometimes I get dizzy, but after selling for 30 years, I get used to it. Even if I want to sell it earlier, I can’t because this place belongs to someone else, if I come to sell it early, I don’t have a place.”
The bread cart is small, but there are 5 “sisters” who are neighbors to sell together
Especially, the bread cart here is small but has up to 5 people to do, one for each person, from grilling meat, cutting bread, adding topping according to customer requirements, wrapping cakes and collecting money. It’s crowded, but there’s no commotion, it’s very orderly to bring the bread to the customer. Every rush hour, everyone works quickly but still can’t make it in time to sell.
The bread cart consists of 5 people working together with hands and feet: one person cuts the cake, the other leaves the topping. one person with sauce, one person who wraps and collects money and one person who grills meat.
Talking with Ms. Anh about the reason why she chose 4 sisters to sell in the same neighborhood, she said: “The older sisters are all old together, there is nothing to do, so I invite you to work together to have more income. She also doesn’t want to hire outsiders. Every day she sells goods, she gives her wages to the girls. If she sells more, she makes more money.”
When selling goods together, friction is inevitable, Ms. Anh said: “It’s okay to have a quarrel and then quarrel. It’s done, but we don’t have to be angry with each other for long.”
As for the preparation of ingredients for the bread cart, which is supported by Ms. Anh and her children alone: ”It’s just a habit to prepare everything, so it’s just a habit, so it’s not very difficult. The girls just help. I’ll just sell the goods. After going to the shop to go to sleep, I go to the market to buy things and prepare everything.” Perhaps, that’s why Anh’s ghost bread recipes are still exclusive.
Bread but the topping is the same as the broken rice plate
Although it only sells for a few hours in the late evening, there are always people standing around the bread cart. On average, Ms. Anh’s bread cart sells more than 400 loaves of bread each night, each costing 20,000-25,000 VND. Crispy hot cake, with many ingredients like a plate of broken rice: grilled meat, char siu, cold meat, skin, shumai, onion fat, pickles, fish sauce… All make up a bread without any kind of mix. any other bread. In particular, the grilled meat is heated at the place to warm the stomach at night.
It is the flavor as well as the characteristics of the sales hours of the bread cart that have created the “ghost bread” brand of the Tay Do land.
Ingredients in the bread include: grilled meat, skin, shumai, onion fat, fish sauce…
The “ghost” bread cart not only attracts local gourmets but also tourists. It is quite difficult to find such a night restaurant in Can Tho because Westerners usually go to rest very early.
“Ghost” bread does not become hot because of its name or opening hours, but it all depends on the quality and taste of the bread. Ms. Han (Can Tho) said: “The ingredients are like a plate of rib rice. I was also surprised that the rice ingredients when combined with bread are so excellent. Everything blends together to eat regionally. West”.
The loaf of bread here does not use soy sauce, but uses fish sauce mixed to blend the inside to create a very special flavor.
For nearly 30 years, every night Mrs. Anh, her four neighbors and the bread cart at the beginning of the alley create a typical image in Can Tho. When asked Mrs. Anh about her intention to pass the profession on to her children and grandchildren to maintain this bread cart, she just smiled and said: “I guess no one will lose it, if there is a daughter-in-law to join, it would be good, but not yes”.
Despite having to queue, the diners here are ready to wait their turn to enjoy this famous bread. Ms. My Nhan (dinner in Can Tho) said: “I’ve been eating here for a few years now, the ingredients inside are like broken rice plates, so it’s very safe to eat. The bread cart is always crowded, sometimes sometimes. I had to wait 30 minutes to have the cake in my hand.”
Bread “hell” here has contributed to colorizing the nighttime culinary culture of Tay Do land. The bread cart is also known by other names such as the bread of the underworld, the baguette bread…
Bread “ghost” is a familiar late-night dish of the Can Tho people.
Photo: Internet (vinlove.net)