It’s called a restaurant, but it’s just a pot of vermicelli noodles and a long table. Mrs. Ca sells for exactly one hour, the price is from 5,000 to 10,000 VND. Anyone who is late will return hungry in the morning.
– Do you have a little more wine?, the old woman asked.
– What, lemon?, Mrs. Ca replied as she quickly scooped up a bowl of vermicelli.
– Ah, ah! Here it is, more for you…
Just like that, even though a bowl of vermicelli noodles only costs 5,000 VND, if diners want to add some tomatoes, raw vegetables, crab noodles, tofu…, the cheapest vermicelli bowl in Saigon owned by Mrs. Ca (65 years old) still guarantees free of charge.
After decades of selling vermicelli noodles, I only had enough money to go to the market for one day
Ms. Ca’s real name is Nguyen Thi Hai (65 years old, living in Ward 13, Go Vap, Ho Chi Minh City). At the age of 25, after getting married, she moved to a house on Truong Minh Ky street to live. Realizing that all around her were people from the North who had migrated to do hard work and rarely had a fulfilling life, Mrs. Ca set up a table and cooked a pot of vermicelli noodles to sell for 500 VND.
At that time, the cheap price but still ensuring enough criteria to fill the stomach in the morning made Ba Ca’s noodle shop suddenly famous. Later, prices escalated, and Mrs. Ca’s noodle bowl increased to 1,000 VND, 3,000 VND, 5,000 VND.
3 years ago, the price reached 10,000 VND and for many years Mrs. Ca kept the price moderate. Even for the elderly with small diets or those with no means, Mrs. Ca is willing to sell bowls for 5,000 VND but are full of vermicelli, fried tofu, tomatoes and crab curry.
“Here, the seller only has enough money to go to the market. Before, every house was poor, neighbors lived together, so she mainly served people,” Ms. Ca said.
Every day, Mrs. Ca wakes up at 3:30 a.m. to prepare to cook, and at 6:30 a.m., she brings the pot of broth and plastic tables and chairs to the front of the road. She sells exactly 1 pot of vermicelli until 7:30 a.m., it’s been the same for many years, if she’s just one minute late, the diners have to return hungry.
And what’s special is that for the reason of worrying about Saigon’s breakfast, she only takes a day off on the first day of Tet throughout the year.
“My children also asked me to take a break, but I still have enough energy to go to the market and cook, so I still work. Because I’m used to it here, sometimes when I only take a day off, people know I’m busy and when I’m sick, they come to my house to ask about me right away.” , Mrs. Ca laughed.
Eating a bowl of vermicelli for 40 years for 5,000 VND
Mrs. Ca’s bowl of vermicelli noodles is simple, just vermicelli added with shredded water spinach, then seasoned with broth, tofu, crab paste, tomatoes… However, it is always crowded with people sitting and standing.
On the morning of October 5, when a reporter visited, there were more than a dozen diners waiting to enjoy a bowl of vermicelli. Ms. Ca shared that because the food is affordable for working people, and most of them are neighbors and residents on the street, there have been countless people who have been attached to the vermicelli pot for more than 40 years.
Therefore, Ba Ca’s noodle shop is a memory of the people on Truong Minh Ky street (Go Vap district, Ho Chi Minh City), people even say this is the cheapest noodle shop in Ho Chi Minh City.
Sitting down to quickly eat a bowl of vermicelli noodles to get to the market on time, Ms. Nguyen Thi My (70 years old) shared that she has been a diner for ten years. The vermicelli bowl is delicious, cheap, especially Mrs. Ca has a pleasant personality, she freely asks for more vegetables and meat, so everyone is very satisfied.
“Now that I’m old, I don’t eat much, so every day I only add a little more vermicelli and rice noodles. Mrs. Ca took exactly 5 thousand VND, and when I offered more, she absolutely refused. The owner’s heart was kind, she sold it like a gift, so I was very happy,” she said. My said.
Mrs. Nguyen Thi Binh (74 years old) sat next to her while eating and telling that she used to live in the center of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Every time she comes back to visit relatives, she has breakfast here and has stuck with it ever since.
“After I got older, I moved back here to live. Every morning I change a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but the one I’m most attached to is Mrs. Ca’s vermicelli noodles. She’s generous and cheerful, so everyone appreciates it, and when she stops selling it, they sell it.” I came home to ask,” Mrs. Binh smiled.
At 7:30 a.m., the pot of broth was empty. Seeing Mrs. Ca packing her things, the neighbors helped. Especially since her husband passed away, the noodle shop has had more support from women in the neighborhood, and the restaurant has also become the busiest place on the street.
Because I see, Mrs. Ca not only sells vermicelli noodles but also sells memories and love for Saigon neighbors!
Photo,Video: Internet (Vinlove.net)