The other day in Da Nang I was on receiving end of a totally unexpected act of kindness. It was around 9 pm, and my girlfriend and I were hungry, so we hopped on the bike to grab a quick snack. I pulled out of our neighborhood and onto the main street, clicked the bike into 2nd gear, and then… nothing. I couldn’t accelerate. Tried 3rd. No luck. I pulled over and only then did I see that my chain had popped off. The guys at the nước mía (sugar cane juice) stand next door came out and started laughing. I thought to myself “What a bunch of jerks, don’t they have anything better to do?” Between laughs I heard “Hey man (haha) all the repair shops are closed (hahaha) so you have to fix it tomorrow (haha) but just take my bike.” Wait, what???

The Rescue

He grabbed my bike, rolled it onto the curb and handed my his keys. “Go ahead, I’ll watch your bike while you’re gone.” At first I was skeptical. Is he gonna try to charge me when I get back? (and how much?) Is he gonna steal my bike while I’m gone? Harvest it for parts? Is this dude totally wasted? I barely even know this guy. He sold sugar cane juice at the lake, where I’d been his customer exactly one time. But I couldn’t really say no, so I just hopped on and went to eat. When I came back 30 minutes later, he was just sitting with his friends, smiling big. There was no catch, none at all. I said thanks, gave him back his keys and rolled my still-undrivable bike back across the street to my house.

If you’d like to meet the man and try some of the best sugar cane juice in Da Nang, check out the morning tour.

sugar cane juice


Shaun grew up in Southern California eating In & Out Burger and Pedro's tacos. In 2009, he moved to Da Nang and has been digging into the local food ever since. He pays his rent by eating and drinking at Da Nang Food Tour.