Something magical always happens
In my travels to Saigon early this decade, I sometimes ate at a street noodle vendor in the Pham Ngu Lau neighborhoo. The lady always served me an extra portion at no additional charge. If the food was not recently made, she would ask me to wait and prepare a fresh serving for me. When it rained, she found a dry spot for me to sit on. Often her elderly mother and young daughter would join me and try to chat with me in a mix of gestures and singular Vietnamese and English words.
The noodle seller some years back
The noodle seller in 2017
In 2016, once I started spending more time in Vietnam, I tried to locate her, but in vain. Locals told me that the neighborhood authorities had chased away the street vendors. Many took up other occupations or went back to the provinces. I give up on meeting my favorite vendor.
Recently, I was in a small alley in Saigon for a hair cute. As I stepped out, I felt a tap on my arm. I turned around and it was my favorite noodle seller. She pointed to a shop in the alley and explained that she had a fixed business spot now. She also looked more radiant, perhaps a sign of having done well in business.
In Saigon, you should always walk into a random alley. Something magical often happens.