In the few years ago, the foreigners sitting on the sidewalk to taste noodles has become too familiar to the people living in Nguyen Dinh Chieu apartment blocks in District 1. Come here at noon, you will see many Western tourists crammed around small plastic tables to enjoy traditional dishes of Vietnam such as bun mam (fish noodle), bun bo (noodle with beef), bun thit nuong (noodle with roast meat)…
This 20 -year-old sidewalk restaurant has become famous among foreign tourists for about five years. According to the restaurant owner, Mr. Thanh, Chef Anthony and his crew came here to enjoy food and film the restaurant after they read an article on the journal Asialife.
After the conversation with Thanh, a jolly middle-aged woman, Anthony decided to call the restaurant “Lunch Lady.” Since then, the sidewalk restaurant has become famous with that name.
As a sidewalk restaurant, “Lunch Lady” looks indifferent from other sidewalk shops. It has only one glass cabinet containing enough materials needed for a dish with a huge pot of broth. The restaurant has no roof, no billboard nor the menu. Each day the shop offers one or two dishes, which are daily changed without any certain rules.
You will not know which dish that you will be served until you sit down at the table. You may be served with bun mam, hu tieu, bun thit nuong or sometimes bun bo. However, customers do not feel annoyed but they feel excited for that “unusual thing.”
This restaurant is not only famous for delicious food but also for the oral advertising by foreign backpackers. Though the shop sells only one or two dishes, without only two hours (from 11am to about 1pm), the dishes are always prepared very carefully. Thanks to the good quality, customers often come back to the shop to taste other delicious cuisines despite the blazing sun in Saigon at noon.