Friday, November 14, 2008


We had Indian food at Tandoor last night. Back when we arrived in Vietnam, we tracked down an empty boarded-over building based on positive restaurant reviews in Lonely Planet. This was Tandoor's old location. Weeks later, we discovered their grand reopening in District One. We've eaten there intermittently since. "Intermittently" because of three other Indian restaurants discovered in the meantime, two of which I like better than Tandoor (when I'm not craving southern regional cuisine). Enough history. Yesterday, we were led through the completely empty first floor dining room and seated in a second story loft. Friendly waiters took our drinks order shortly before the power failed. This wasn't surprising--inconsistent power is normal lately. It was hardly dark. Heavy traffic on Hai Ba Trung swung high beams to and fro across the room. The place got hot, though--that large, focal tandoori oven, packed with bright red coals, undid whatever coolness avoided the tropical suck in a country designed without insulation. The waiter only returned with our drinks, and to take our food order, after the lights came back on. Why? Certainly wood-fired cuisine doesn't require electricity. People began tramping down the stairs from the third floor. Dozens of people. Droves. Clowncars full. We'd been the only evident customers minutes before; now the restaurant staff were pushing every single table together into long clusters for the large, loud crowd that had been sitting out the dark upstairs while, incidentally, also sucking up all the staff attention. The power was still out up there, so they'd required relocation. It took a little convincing, but we finally made the manager understand that we'd be more comfortable up in the tropical dark than we were down with the banquet. But after that we finally had a nice southern Indian dinner. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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