Vietnamese egg vendor also performer, authentic hero

TN News

Email Print

Cao Thai Hoang, 37, sells eggs on the street in Tra Vinh. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre

Every day Cao Thai Hoang leaves his rented house and speeds through his alley on his motorbike. He carries a basket full of eggs on his head.

The eggs never fall, and despite many years of seeing this, people in his Tra Vinh city neighborhood still smile as they see him zoom past.

The hawker, a father of two school-age children has added a street show, saying his "sticky head" boosts sales of his eggs.

He sells "hot vit lon," or duck eggs with embryos inside. It is boiled with the shell or prepared in other ways and is a popular street snack in Southeast Asia.

Since his name means "king" and he has this amazing gift of balance, he has earned the nickname "ong hoang hot vit lon" (balut king).

The 37-year-old says the ability is natural and he became aware of it while playing as a boy with other street vendors.

They would carry trays of cakes on their heads, and one day challenged each other to walk without holding the tray. The one going furthest would be treated to lunch by the others.

"Every other tray dropped after a short walk, but strangely mine did not.

"It was stuck to my head as if glued. It didn't drop even when I ran or rode my bicycle."

From then he began to add circus tricks along the road, like spinning the tray on his head.

Like the cakes then, his eggs sell better now since "people are interested in my skill," Hoang says.

He places a coconut on his head and walks around, and then a bottle of cooking oil, to prove that he is not bragging.

"Anything would stick to my head, unless someone knocks it off."

Hoang said he makes more than VND100,000, or around US$5, a day, enough to make ends meet.

Nguyen Thi Duyen, Hoang's landlord, says he is not only an entertainer but also a good man.

His wife Le Thi Hong Nga calls him the kindest man in the world.

His neighbors recount stories of him giving coats to beggars at night and buying food for street children.

Hoang is reluctant at first, but comes around to narrate a story of how he once took a victim of a road accident to hospital.

He was selling his eggs on the street one day when he saw a crowd around a man lying on the street.

He stopped, carried the man and his bag to his bike, and drove to a hospital, forgetting his own egg basket.

He waited at the hospital for the man's family, only to learn that the victim had just one sister, who fainted upon learning about the accident.

So he himself signed the papers for transferring the victim to Cho Ray hospital in Ho Chi Minh City 70 kilometers away for treatment of his head injury.

He traveled along with the victim and stayed up the whole night until the sister showed up before catching a bus back to Tra Vinh.

Hoang calls that responsibility that people have for each other.

"People are weird these days. They are afraid of problems when helping people on the street. It was different in the old days."

Like us on Facebook and scroll down to share your comment

More Society News