Before I begin to take you further into the District Tonkins universe, I can tell you a little about - why, how and how District Tonkin actually became. Why do I feel the privilege every single morning in order to wake up to days, which does not 2 are identical? How it feels to be in a kitchen rather than sitting at a desk? How I in heaven's name went from only being able to make premixed spaghetti bolo or klapsammenmad to make all the dishes on the menu from scratch?
District Tonkin is not just a dream, but an adventure which has not yet come to an end - but .... all adventure, I joy to share the happy ending, one day.
As 34 year-old independent woman of Vietnamese origin and mother of a 6 year-old great super-girl, residing in Vesterbro with working in Copenhagen K, 7 days per week, so the days can be more fun and more challenging as restaurateur / shop owner. It also requires perseverance and tenacity - but most of all support and a sublime cooperation of a skilled and inspiring partner.
District Tonkin has not only been an idea, which came out of the blue. District Tonkin has been a dream since 2003, where I first stepped on Vietnamese soil, when I came to work in a Danish furniture company in Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon. I remember my very first bite.
After 18 hour flight, 2 hour waiting for suitcase, passport control, the sight of a sea of people at the arrival hall, 35 degree heat and the sound of several thousands honking scooters - I was in shock, and had to get away from there with the same.
I felt, that it had already been too much and I was tired - the tears rolled down my cheeks – I missed Copenhagen. It was anything but just what I had imagined.
As we drove out of the airport, out to the streets, out of the chaotic traffic, I saw them - I was no longer tired, the tears had long since dried by, I was thrilled and was hungry in a split second and needed to eat it as I had always dreamed of eating, as soon as I came to Vietnam. I could see them, and scents them and welcomed me to put teeth into a version which was not "dansket" into a frozen baguettes from Hatting - banh mi!
In almost delirious and another dialect than – what the driver understood – I asked him to stop the car immediately at this banh mi wagon by Hong Ha Street in Tan Binh District. The trolley was a practical workstation on wheels, where meat, egg, The Smile Cow, green, etc. was added op bag a glasrude. Should the Danish food been passed by, they had certainly given a sour smiley and closed it all down. But this was Vietnam, and as long as it so bluntly it goes well.
I asked the lady who stood and made them to get a banh mi with it all. She took a loaf of bread from the basket put them into the drawer, which was built in grill with charcoal and warmed up the bread in 30 seconds. Took it out and cut up the bread, May smurte, strokes salt and pepper over, smeared a layer Pate, put a few slices of meat, pickled vegetables, cucumber, little green, sauce and a few slices of chili. I was in love with the whole process, her attitude and respect for the simple eating.
I got stuck an iced coffee in hand and with a beautiful North Vietnamese dialect lady said: "Here, my girl, how do you eat a real, Engelsk Bread. Coffee Sua Da Man drikker til den ". There I sat on a red 25 cm Low unstable plastic stool on a dirt road with a banh mi, which was wrapped in 10 cm demolished “daily newspaper” and a rubber band around the one hand and an iced coffee in the second, and looked around. My first bite, my first sip of Vietnam - and I'll never forget it - brittle, fresh, strongly, sweet and bitter! This simple and tastes rich experience would one day pass on to the Copenhagen I love - one day, when I was ready.
No continuation quite soon. Hello!