Being of a hungry sort, and being in the vicinity of a Vietnamese soup joint (the Pho Bowl), I grabbed a co-worker, named Mr. Gu, and lit out for soup. If you haven’t known the glory that is Pho, imagine a bowl of rice noodles. Fill it with a really good beef broth, piping hot. Put in meat of your choice – my choice is uncooked thin-sliced beef, which cooks in the hot broth as you eat it. Add fresh basil, sprouts, thin-sliced hot peppers, and lime, to your liking. Now dab on some peanut-based duck sauce, and you’re eating well.
Anyway, the point of my note is not to make you hungry. (Actually, it’s to make you jealous.) Regardless of my point, if I have one, which I will neither confirm nor deny, the fact of the matter is that I like to practice my pronunciation of the terms of the Vietnamese dishes when I have this opportunity. So, when our cute young waitress came to take our orders, I told her that I wanted to try to say these things in Vietnamese, and proceeded to butcher the language while pointing at the menu like a chimp. “How’d I do?” I asked her hopefully.
I’d like to point out that this was a cute young waitress of obvious Asian decent, working in a Vietnamese restaurant.
She gave me a big smile. “Oh, I have no idea,” she said, “I was born in Korea, but I was raised Italian.”
Needless to say, Mr. Gu cracked up.