Monday, August 2, 2021

Chopsticks

Phở Vietnamese Restaurant in Flagstaff. I selected pho with chicken breast. It came with the bean sprouts, a wedge of lime, and sliced chili peppers. I put two slices of chili into the soup, then took them out after 15 minutes or so as the spicy heat became intolerable.


A couple of years ago I bought a pack of chopsticks. I had a pair when I was young, back in the 1980s, and learned to use them to minimal proficiency, but eventually gave up on them. My recent intent was to relearn how to use them well enough to travel to Japan and hopefully not starve. Obviously, the Coronavirus pandemic messed up the travel plans, but I persisted with the chopsticks. I regained proficiency and have mostly used them with instant ramen, which allows the loading of a huge wad of noodles into the mouth. As an American, I have to admit it's a superior way to consume ramen, but it's a little sloppy.

I went to a Vietnamese restaurant yesterday for a bowl of pho, a soup or stew, that was imported into the United States after the Vietnam War (Phở Vietnamese on Woodlands Village Blvd in Flagstaff). The usual method in Vietnam is to use chopsticks to eat the noodles out of the bowl, then use a spoon to consume the broth. It's the first time I have used chopsticks in public. It went reasonably well, although at one point I realized I was making too much noise. After that I was more careful and managed to eat the entire bowl politely, although I honestly think the serving size was enough for two people.

I ordered pho with chicken breast. The dish consisted mostly of a large bowl of sweet and savory broth, and a great mass of very thin rice noodles, with chopped scallions, bean sprouts, a lime wedge, and three slices of a hot green chili pepper on the side. It was good, although I wouldn't consider it delicious. I think I'll go back again though, because most of the online commentary indicates that the best food at that restaurant is the Bahn Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich dating from the French colonial period. Anyway I always like to give a restaurant a second chance unless something is truly terrible.

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