Thursday, November 29, 2007


Our first dining-out experience in Vietnam was Korean. I don't know what the restaurant is called since the sign is also Korean. We'd tried locating both an Indian and then a Vietnamese place--likely candidates from our guidebook--but we'd failed: one restaurant had relocated and the other had simply vanished. We occasionally see the latter mentioned on advertisements and maps, but have canvassed the neighborhood without discovering it. The restaurant we settled on that day was swell. I enjoy Korean food and was impressed by this establishment's quality. The only bad thing about it seemed to be me: I was still uncomfortable about navigating public Vietnamese places. It was all still very new. I remember the dining experience as nervous and awkward. I also remember the magnificent barbequed octopus. Sunshine doesn't love Korean food. Since she also worked late tonight, I decided to eat there again alone. I figured my discomfort should have diminished in tandem with my mounting relaxation in other local restaurants. But no. It's not me; the ending of culture shock begins when not blaming it for other factors. It's that one restaurant. I walked in the door tonight and all the Korean diners just stared at me until they were certain I wasn't going to flee. Then a distant waitress gestured idly, possibly at some lonely table or perhaps the upstairs. Later, I hastily pointed out my food selection as another waitress walked away with my menu. I was unable to choose a drink in the time allowed. She never spoke to me. I felt clumsy with the heavy metal chopsticks. The other customers stared. Eventually I paid up and then I did flee. The food was excellent: raw seafood omelet, often referred to as pancake, with five bowls of astonishingly good kimchi. [Cavin]

Then, a 2 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Ellie added:

I wish I could say I have never been through that, but I have had similar experiences in other foregin places like Fargo, ND and Poughkeepsie, NY. Some places just can't be bother with trying to make you feel comfortable.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 1:31:00 AM  
To which Anonymous 'ell joy added:

A small Mexican cafe in Los Angeles let me use the bathroom and then pleasantly refused to sell food to me. The "real" customers just stared as I tried to order several things only to have the girl behind the counter smile and say "No" to each one. I finally just said, "Oh-kay" and left. There was a lot of graffiti and Spanish on the outside walls and I wondered if I had inadvertently wandered into a gang hangout.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 3:23:00 PM  

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