It's already February 2013. Wow. That was fast. Tet is upon us, but all I care about is breakfast.
This morning I sat down to my familiar Friday morning brunch. Whenever I go anywhere people tend to remember me after some frequency. No matter what many of you think, I still stand out among the crowds here. It's still hard for me to blend in.
The lady owner greeted me briefly behind her cart and asked me if I wanted the usual two orders of beef. I asked if she had any noodles left and I asked for an order of that and beef. I'm different because I tend to order three items instead of one. I order an extra egg. One time I ordered three dishes and wolfed them down within ten minutes. I think that's a bit stet world record. For those of you who don't know, bit stet or beef steak consists of a chunk of tender beef with eggs and some banh mi. It's usually eaten in the morning. Some places will throw in a meat ball and others will slab on a cut of pate. Everything is usually served on a sizzling hot cast iron plate made out of a cow. They remember me here because I always eat more than a local and I pay at the front instead of yelling out to calculate the total.
The makeshift restaurant operates in the mornings usually before 11 AM. This team of four diligent workers rent the sidewalk adjacent to a store and set up their make up inox table and chairs. When the sun gets overbearing they close up shop and disappear. Their kitchen is a little cart. Their sink is a bucket and a hose. Each order costs 25,000 with 5,000 extra if you want an two eggs instead of one. They make this awesome noodles and beef dish with perfectly cooked scrambled eggs for the same price. They sometimes run out of noodles before I come. There are only about six tables. Strangers sometimes have to sit together. Fortunately, coming later, I never have this problem. When I arrive, it's evident that the morning was busy. Trash were left all over the ground as I sat around it, becoming a part of it myself.
The younger waitress wearing a sweater and a pink pajama (do bo) bottom walked over and laid down a banh mi filled with air and nothing else. Cheap banh mi has no fillings here. I miss Banh Mi Cali at times. She also lays down a tiny plate of green lettuce, two slices of tomatoes, and some cucumbers tossed lightly in a sour vinegar. I thanked her. Moments later she came back with my pasta. Soon after the beef steak arrived. I thanked her each time. I removed the bowl of soy sauce because I was already sure the meal would be salty enough for me. Food in Vietnam tends to be saltier than Vietnamese food in America. She asked me if I wanted a soda and I asked her if she soy milk. She said yes and brought over soy milk in a glass bottle. That was refreshing and I made sure to thank her a fourth time. She smiled.
By now a random guy took his place at the end of the row and ordered a plate for himself. He glances over at me and I looked back. He was probably wondering why I was sporting at tie midday like that.
An older man walked up and sat next to my table. Immediately he spat on the ground to clear his throat.
A cup of ice tea was placed to the table next to him as a lottery ticket lady sat down. She said that it only costs her about three million to celebrate Tet. In Vietnamese the common phrase is "An Tet" or "Eat Tet".
Another lottery ticket lady approached me and briefly waved her tickets at me. I shook my head and off she went.
A music man selling CDs from a bike cart blasting music pedaled by as I couldn't help but closed my eyes briefly and let my body sway to the music.
A white automatic Vespa pulled up with a girl with nice booty. Her face was covered and before she removed her mask I was certain she would be a butter face. As soon as I saw her I instantly thought to talk to her if she sat down near by. She did sit down, but as soon as she removed her masks, I lost it and closed my eyes and cursed out loud at how such a nice ass would be accompanied by such an average face. She barked some orders as the waitress. Instantly as I heard the shrieks of her rural voice her ass deflated and I lost all interests. It's not all about the ass here people, I'm not that shallow.
The same old man yelled out for some sliced chilis. The lottery ticket lady now had a plate of pasta noodles in front of her as she ate away with a spoon. Yup, pasta with a spoon. Only in Vietnam.
Another lottery ticket appeared out of thin air and did her whole please buy some from me routine. I shook my head as she stood there and waited for a while.
A lady carrying baked goods in two baskets elevated by a single stick labored over her shoulders graced on by shouting out her delights, such as banh tiu and banh gia loi. I couldn't help but noticed how she bounced along with her baskets as the semi-flexible stick created a bungee effect.
Yet another lottery ticket woman offered me some tickets before I could finish the steak. Maybe I should stop smiling to them. The more I smile the more they think I want to buy.
Normally, I gorge on my food like a school of piranhas chowing down on some killer African wasps attacking a whole pride of lions. Hardcore. However, I had diarrhea the previous night and I still felt the aftermath. It was either because of the egg noodles I had eaten for lunch the prior day or it was because I consumed a banana peel because I just wanted to show off.
I tried my best not to make such a mess on the table from all the bread crumbs. My god, there were a lot of bread crumbs. I removed some napkins from the plastic box and wiped my mouth a bit and then just threw it on the ground as if it was someone else's job to pick it up. I scolded myself mentally for a brief moment because I had cursed out a girl throwing a coconut onto the side of the road as she finished it while cruising around her bike just minutes earlier. I wasn't any different than her.
I finished quickly and got up to pay by the kitchen cart. I thanked the owner lady again and departed. The damage was 80 thousand VND (about 3.80 cents) 60,000 for the two meals and 20,000 for the soy milk.
I was still hungry. Feed me more. Feed me more. Feed me more. (STFU Ryback!)
I don't quite understand how a local man who weighs more than me would be satisfied from just one item. I weigh about 120 lbs on a good day. Did all those burgers and fries stretch out my stomach?
Do I have the stomach of a white person? Should I start competitive eating? Who wants to see me eat 10 balut eggs in one sitting? To think of...I'm sure everyone would eat two meals too if they could afford it.
Buy me breakfast. Thanks.