Home > Uncategorized > Culinary Research and Pest Control 9/24/09

Culinary Research and Pest Control 9/24/09

9/24 My reading of the Wikipedia page about Saigon wasn’t very comprehensive. I did read the entire page: remember that the country was owned by the Chinese until 938AD, that the Nguyen dynasty gave way to French colonialism gave way to some very messy recent history of which I’ve read lots in my Global conflict classes, that the main currency is the dong (with an exchange rate of 1 to 8000 something??!!), and that they’re a member of the WTO and ASEAN. The whole thing, however, quickly reduced to obsessive reading Anthony Bourdain travel blogs. Through this process I came across what is most necessary for my journey—even more so than a visa: the addresses of every restaurant Ho Chi Minh City where he ate in the Vietnam episode. I went to dinner with Sadie and her Chinese friend, Nicole, who had studied in Minnesota with her. A Chinese girl named Dora joined us as we walked to Canteen 2 who smiled as she sidled up to me after a particularly loud guffaw and said, “You are enjoying yourself very much.” True. Today’s menu item of choice was Jiaoze—pork dumplings! I don’t know if I spelled it right, because for some reason it wasn’t in my bilingual photo-dictionary. What kind of a photo dictionary in mandarin doesn’t have “dumplings,” one of the most ubiquitous meals in China? There is a word for edam cheese however. It’s yidannailao (I can’t find a font for tone marks so just think: 1-1-3-4). Also one for burger bar, chicken nuggets, hot dog, and crepes. Chances are if you are ordering these things, you don’t need to really know Chinese. Then again there are a lot of KFC’s here. Yes. I have eaten there. It was delicious. Aside from the UV resistant umbrella (sheer genius! Literally!), I’ve reached another level of initiation to the world of China. The biggest cockroach I’ve ever seen came and died in the middle of my floor. The fact that it died must mean it starved—so we’re not disgusting people at least; although the fact that I let it lie there for two days might void that previous statement. Tonight I had to wash some clothes in order to be able to run tomorrow, and I figured it would be a good time to sweep the dead roach over the balcony. As I chucked it from the yellow dustpan onto the roof ledge below, I saw something dart into the house. I stepped slowly into the kitchen in my atrociously bare feet and bent to look below the counter. An EVEN BIGGER roach skittered away from my looming head toward the fridge and I ran screaming from the room. I came back, wielding the broom, and the thing ran for the door. I opened it, swatting at it with the broom, and it flew off of the balcony. Our apartment is now (as far as I know) roach free.

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