How Do You Say “Burp” In Vietnamese?

Thursday, November 29th, 2007, 6:55 pm

As I ponder a trip to Vietnam I read an article by Daniel Gross, a superb financial writer for Newsweek and Slate, who happens to be there at this very moment. The article beings like this:

We were in the midst of a nine-course Chinese lunch at the glistening New World Hotel Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City. My mouth was filled with course No. 2 (braised shredded abalone soup with dried seafood), and my eyes were on course No. 3, deep-fried crab with tamarind sauce.

And ends like this:

As if to emphasize Vietnam’s emergence from the dark decades of deprivation into the sunlight of prosperity, we were practically buried in food. The nine-course Chinese lunch, which came after a tremendous all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, was followed by an eight-course Vietnamese dinner. Before I left on the trip, I dipped into Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam chronicle The Things They Carried. The narrative of this group’s journey to Vietnam would be more aptly titled The Things They Ate.

Nine-course lunches. Eight-course dinners. I’ve already heard about the breakfast buffets. So much for my big weight-loss kick.

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