Banh Bo Nuong
Saigon Deli, $1.50
Carried into the Saigon Deli on a tide of lunchtime traffic, I washed up in front of a table covered in plastic-wrapped desserts. I chose a huge wedge of alien-looking cake with golden skin and grass-green flesh the texture of lung tissue. When I asked the guy at the counter to identify the unlabeled slab for me, he shrugged: "Just green cake."
Thankfully, the all-knowing internet was able to provide more detail. Banh bo nuong turns out to be a fairly common Vietnamese treat, similar in composition to sponge cakes enjoyed throughout Southeast Asia. This recipe reveals that a combination of tapioca flour, single-acting baking powder, and numerous eggs gives bahn bo nuong its singularly succulent texture; coconut milk contributes a rich sweetness and pandan (screwpine) extract accounts for the chlorphyllic color and slightly herbal flavor.