Tuesday, April 14, 2009


After talking about Mexican food yesterday, it's time for more of what I'll miss about Vietnam (volume three): restaurant food. It's perfectly reasonable to suppose that I cannot get better Vietnamese food anywhere on Earth than I can right here in Hồ Chí Minh City. It's never been my favorite kind of food, actually. At home I liked Vietnamese okay, but I preferred more Indo-Asian traditions like Thai food to the Sino-Asian likes of China and Vietnam. Not that I have minded being trapped here with the best Vietnamese food in the world, of course. Not one bit. When I do eat Vietnamese, it's always impressive as hell and I get things I'd never even heard of back in North Carolina: crispy fried turmeric pancakes packed with seafood and onions, grilled shrimp paste wrapped around sugarcane, salt and pepper squids resting in a delicate web of white noodles ladled with acute fish sauce, spicy grated salads with boiled quail eggs. But it's important to point out that I don't eat Vietnamese food even every week here. The fact is, all the local restaurants are very good. It's a great food city. The same care and attention, the same high quality ingredients and impeccable cooking expertise, is evident in any old place. The Vietnamese are known for industrialized repetition. Sadly, this can mean the shifty handicrafts practices: thousands of hands trained to perfectly replicate the same lacquered bowl or marble statue over and over again. This makes for pretty crappy cookie-cutter souvenirs, but a very stable garment industry and a whoppingly impressive series of impeccable kitchens. So the Italian and the Mediterranean and the Spanish food here is great. And since the proper eastern ingredients are on hand, the Indian and Thai and Japanese and Korean food is exquisite. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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