Ban cow pen?

Ban cow pen!
Bang coo pen?
Bang cow pig!
Ban coo van?
Banh cua ban!
Bạn của bạn?

Whatever he is selling I don’t want to buy it. Especially at 05:55 on a Saturday.
I have, understandably, never laid eyes on him. I have only ever heard his, or maybe her, 120 decibel public address system.

Street vendor, Tay Ho, VietnamFrom that sound alone I know he is pedaling a bicycle with a glass display box strapped on the back. He is selling street food and telling everyone all about it.

He no doubt has a set route that he follows. Unfortunately I happen to be part of his early Saturday morning routine.

As I lay in bed trying to figure out what was being announced, I got to wondering: did he have to record the message himself? Or is there somewhere you can buy these shouty message loops?

Could there be an entire cottage industry of artisans voicing these messages?

Then I started to delve deeper. Could you download these retail spiels onto your phone and hook it up somehow to an amp and speaker? Was it MP3? CD or good old fashioned audio cassette?

Did some poor soul have to sit and repeat themselves for an hour only for the tape recording to turn into spaghetti a month later?

I didn’t get back to sleep.

Look out for an update when I get to the bottom of this mystery.

UPDATE:  See Ông Ban Cow Pen revealed video

UPDATE: He has now extended his product range. He’s now selling ‘Bang me now’!?!


5 thoughts on “Ban cow pen?

  1. I can guess the phrase either ” Bánh rán đi”, or ” xôi lạc bánh khúc đi”. Those tapings or verbal advertisements really make Vietnam special in its own way that can hardly found elsewhere. Sometimes, I just really miss it.


      • I see. Even I am Vietnamese, it took me like two years to recognize the tape ” Xôi lạc bánh khúc đi” which means “Khúc and Green bean sticky rice here”. Just like me, most of my other Viet friends mistake it into another version ” Tôi là bánh khúc đây” means “I am khúc and green bean sticky rice”. Sometimes I am still confused which one did we hear every morning or is it another version of advertising.
        I found your blog with interesting observations living in Vietnam. Keep it up! 😉


  2. Pingback: Ông Ban Cow Pen revealed | Hà Nội Scribbles

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