Eating in Vietnam

by Walter Guest

I was talking to this guy in Saigon. We worked for the same company and had been in-country for years. He told me had never eaten any place except mess halls since he's been there!

I was shocked.

He said it like he was bragging.

I asked, "You've never tried one of these French restaurants around here?"

"I don't like all those damn sauces," he said. "Just meat and potatoes, that's all I want. And none of that rabbit food either."

The company didn't have a messhall in Saigon. He was eating in Army messhalls. He was bragging about eating nothing but generic food. I pitied the poor guy.

Viet Nam was like a gastronomical paradise to me. The French had been there 100 years more or less. They had trained chefs throughout the country. Good to excellent restaurants were everywhere. There was a restaurant in the central coastal town of Nha Trang that had a star in the Michelin Guide. There are restaurateurs in France who would kill (and probably have killed) for a single star in the Michelin Guide.

Oh well. If that guy was happy eating in army messhalls why should I care?

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