There are few guilty pleasures in this world as sublime as the fatty French wonder: foie gras.
While "pate" can be found on the shelves of every streetside sandwich stall in Ho Chi Minh City, its finest iteration is just now taking some of the town's hi-end eateries by storm.
For those who don't know, foie gras (literally, fatty liver) is derived from the liver of an oversized goose or duck.
According to French law, the bird must be forcibly stuffed full of corn and other cereals until it is morbidly obese; Canadian and American producers have made the same dish, using natural feeding techniques, but the resulting liver is considered less tasty.
Indeed, foie gras is graded (A,B,C). It can be blended, whipped up in to a mousse or reconstituted into a terrene. In their purest form, the fatty livers are sliced and served as whole rounds.
In France, it's often mashed into bread or served with fruit and cheese as a wonderful means of offsetting the crisp flavors of a nice glass of Sauterne.
It takes a true master to manage to take the dish to a new level. On occasion, it is sautéed delicately to crisp the exterior.
Dessert chefs have been known to drizzle cuts of the famed pate with vinegar, balsamic vinegar and other sweet and tart sauces.
Here in HCMC, the savory punch of foie gras is being cut by local tropical fruits.
Certain chefs in town have added a modern twist served up with cuts of mango, dragon fruit and pineapple.
To sample some of Saigon's takes on this item, check out the following:
Legend Hotel Saigon
2A-4A Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1
Tel: (08) 3 823 3333
Sofitel Saigon Plaza Hotel
17 Le Duan Boulevard, District 1
Tel: (08) 3 824 1555
Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City
242 Tran Binh Trong Street, District 5
Tel: (08) 3 839 7777
Au Manoir De Khai Restaurant
251 Dien Bien Phu Street,
District 3. Tel: (08) 3 930 3394