If you don’t know the place well, it is very difficult to find Son’s sticky rice stall. It springs up every evening on Cau Go, an alley in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, has no name board, advertises no dish, and is usually surrounded by motorbikes.
As soon as the stall is set up, Son, 50, gets busy, deftly and quickly serving customers.
When asked for how long she has run this place, Son points her finger at her daughter, saying: “I started selling when I was three months pregnant with her.”
The daughter, who looks to be in her mid-twenties, has no interest in revealing her age.
Son took over this spot in the 90s, when her sister-in-law retired.
There are people who have been Son’s customers for 15 years. She did all the work alone till a few years ago, when her daughter started helping out. Earlier, she was open from 5 p.m. until midnight.
Her sticky rice spot is very small, about five square meters. Customers sit on low chairs typical of such eateries.
Son uses a pair of large-sized chopsticks to pick steaming hot sticky rice from a large vessel. The sticky rice pot is placed in the middle, caramelized pork and eggs one side, and pork pie on another.
Soft and tender sticky rice served with caramelized pork and dried sausage, with a little gravy and ground pepper.
Along with a side dish like pickled vegetables that add even greater taste to sticky rice, a serving costs just VND20,000 (US$0.8). Not a bad price to pay for a delicious, filling dinner.