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Food

Don’t get comfort until you need it.

The city where I served in my first posting was large, but not very international. Western food (beyond McDonald’s) wasn’t very popular there. After too many disappointments, I gave up looking for decent pizza. Tex-Mex was another scarcity. Chinese people tend not to like it, so it’s pretty rare in China. There was one Mexican food place in town. One of my friends said that it was a good idea not to eat at that place too soon after arriving in China, it was better to wait until you had been in China for several months before going there. This was because although it was pretty good, it wasn’t quite the same as in America.

That point was driven home for me yesterday when a group of us went to eat at an American style diner in Ho Chi Minh City. The decor of the place was really good, it felt like a typical small American restaurant. The menu was also full of very familiar options. We were all very impressed, and look forward to our comfort food. I ordered a breakfast entrée, because what’s more comforting than an American breakfast?

The food was not disappointing. My smoked salmon and Swiss cheese scrambled eggs was just what the doctor ordered. All of us were very happy with our food.

Now, to be honest, it wasn’t exactly, 100% the same as American diner food. I think if I had gone to that restaurant right after leaving America, I would have been disappointed, or at least I would have had a very different opinion of the food. However, after having been away from American food for several months, it was a nice taste of home. I will be back.

But maybe not for a few weeks.

By the way, the place is called “The Diner V.” You can Google it.

Finally had a bowl of Pho that I liked

One of the national dishes of Vietnam is “pho.” It’s spelled “phở.” To  pronounce it correctly, start to drop the f-bomb, and leave off the final “k” sound.  Or start to say “full” and leave off the final “ll” sound. It’s a noodle soup, usually with beef or chicken.  It’s very mild.  Vietnamese people see it as comfort food.  I see it as boring.  Usually.

By Codename5281 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23216056

A few days ago, I got a stomach bug that was really debilitating (I was lying in bed all afternoon today with stomach cramps).  This evening I wasn’t really hungry, but I needed to get something in my stomach, so I went out for some pho. It isn’t hard to find pho in Vietnam.  It’s everywhere, from streetside bistros to upscale restaurants.  I chose a middle-of-the-road chain called Pho 24.

Usually I don’t like pho.  It’s so mild that it’s boring.  But this time, it was just what the doctor ordered.  The rice noodles are easy to digest, and the warm broth feels good on an upset tummy. Maybe pho is Vietnam’s answer to chicken soup. If chicken soup is Jewish penicillin, maybe pho is Vietnamese penicillin.

It took me a minute

Until I realized that they mean that it tastes very good.

This is exactly what I need in my life right now.

Cheeky Barista

When baristas at Starbucks ask me for my name so they can write it on my cup, I don’t like to give my real name. It’s a personal quirk. As a small token of rebellion against the system, I give a fake name.

Usually I’m “Phil,” for some reason. Today, though, I decided to be Ed, because I was in a hurry, and I figured that it would be pretty hard to mess up that name.

“My name is Ed,” I said as clearly as I could, thinking to myself, “that should be easy.”

Boy, did I not expect this. Did he think I had a cold?

Truth in advertising

I ordered the “egg-free breakfast with beans.”

Not a single egg in that bowl of beans!

Is it just me?

Or is this butter NSFW?

Magic Hand Wipes in a Japanese Restaurant

After this experience, I may have to move to Japan.

Excellent compromise

I usually enjoy a cup of coffee in the afternoon. But our office holiday party was held in the afternoon this week, at a local micro-brewery.

Coffee vanilla porter bridged the gap perfectly.

If you’re within earshot of my sister,…

…plug your ears. Loud remonstrations will commence in 3…2…1…

Selling meat al fresco in Hanoi. Reason #486 why KJW will never visit me in Vietnam.