Monday, March 16, 2009


We enjoyed a nice meal at Hoa Túc Saturday night. It's a contemporary Vietnamese restaurant located in the old opium refinery off Hai Bà Trưng Street. It shares a two-story French colonial building with several other places I've mentioned before, accessible off a dimly lit gravel courtyard down a gated alley from all the tony hotels. I had shrimp wrapped in mustard leaves and thin, lightly fried strips of sole on shaved sour mango. I also had a small chopstick epiphany. I've been comfortable eating with chopsticks for decades. Before coming to Asia I'd had no idea there was something left to learn. I remember watching Eat, Drink, Man, Woman in its first US art house release; my first chopstick epiphany hitting me in that theater while watching Taiwanese actresses spin soup noodles onto their utensils like thread onto a spool. A revelation: you could roll soba like spaghetti. I couldn't wait to leave the theater and try this myself. Saturday's eating-related realization was more immediate. I've discovered several chopstick weaknesses since coming to Asia. Stripping basil leaves off the sprig for my soup or spring rolls took a while to master. Peeling shrimp is still difficult. Saturday night I was again confronted by the difficulty of boning fish. Therefore my realization: just lump whatever whiskers of bone are too small to remove with chopsticks. The logic here is perfectly circular, of course: too small to chopstick? Eat them. Too big to eat? Get better with chopsticks. So a pretty tiny epiphany, indeed: an attempt to detect that fine line. Now I also need to master getting the fish into my mouth at the proper angle to keep from stabbing myself on sharp bones quite so often. But only an epiphany of anatomy will help me with that. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

Post a Comment

<< Back to the Beginner.
<< To main Update page.