Cuisine at La Fiesta, Saigon

Festooned with cacti and luchadore wrestling masks, one might be forgiven for thinking they’d wandered into a Guadalajara cantina and not a Saigon restaurant when visiting La Fiesta.

There is an art to eating ribs. I have a special T-shirt in my closet that I use only for this purpose and it’s basically a wearable napkin. When getting down to some serious ribs, there is no time for pointless etiquette. Ribs are comfort food, and comfort food is meant to be messy.

Now that the World Cup has finished, the world’s attention has left Brazil — but that’s no reason to forget the parts that don’t involve football, nationalism and ham-acting.

I’ve been trying to fix my life. Wake up at a regular time and exercise. Cut out the bad stuff. Eat better.

“I want to do a naked bike ride in Hanoi,” smiles Guim Valls Teruel.

As a westerner in Ho Chi Minh City it’s fairly easy to satisfy most food cravings: pizza, tacos, fish and chips, Sunday roast — you can even get late night McDonald’s. One cuisine that is lacking, though, is good ol’ fashioned American barbecue. Vietnam is fairly expert in grilled meats, but a rack of ribs smothered in barbecue sauce and accompanied by disgustingly unhealthy sides? That’s another beast entirely.

Once you enter through Ploughman’s Garden’s gate, you leave Vietnam. Or at least that’s how it feels. Tucked away in an alley, Ploughman’s Garden is easily missed, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from making the trek to District 2 in search of excellent vegetarian and vegan fare.

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