Friday, December 07, 2007


Sunshine and I ate a nice meal at restaurant Quán ăn Ngon tonight, just across the street from Reunification Palace, or, more succinctly, around the corner of it from our apartment. The dinner was nice. Sunshine had fried rolls and vermicelli with nước mắm.* She drank sour green mango. I had dried eel glass noodle soup and marinated grilled cuttlefish. I had to order the latter because the dish was called A Sunshine Cuttlefish. I either had to eat it or steal the menu. It was really good: a foot-long squid in lightly sea salt-n-peppery marinade which grilled away leaving the creature itself tender. But enough about that. This restaurant is on a leafy stretch of popular Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa Street, adjacent to the largest tourist attraction in Ho Chi Minh City, beside a municipal park and busy traffic circle. It's a heavily touristed stretch of road. The restaurant is popular with those tourists. It's also popular with the Vietnamese and had come recommended by several of Sunshine's officemates. So we ate there, as did seemingly hundreds of others who clamored multi-nationally, shouting above the deafening hubbub. Outside the place, children with flowers and old men pushing cyclos line the sidewalk, hoping to vend some goods or services to the passing foreign clientele. Customers must run this gauntlet to go in or out. Once inside, we were shown to a two-person table very near the main door where we huddled for the next hour as crowds of people milled along, coming or going. The waiter showed us how to eat our food when it arrived: what went on what, which parts to dip. It was interesting being a tourist again. I hadn't really noticed I'd stopped consistently feeling like one, but tonight was definitely an eye-opening regression. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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