With yesterday’s cooking disaster behind me and my apartment nicely aired out, I decided to let someone else do the cooking. However, the remaining days of Tet simplified the selection in my neighborhood to just about KFC or Dominos. No pho. No frog legs. Not even a bowl of chicken innards. Most everything is closed. What’s a guy to eat? Unfortunately, I’ve been reduced to the Zinger combo at KFC.
The Zinger combo isn’t all that bad though since I am still recovering from the sight of fish guts simmering themselves into an abnormal grey in that pan of water. I think I even cooked whatever weird looking part that is they breathe through. I don’t know. It looked like a Honda Accord’s air filter last changed in 1987. In any case that meal was enough to make me call it a day and take a detour off my food trail to places more benign.
KFC is just an elevator ride away from my apartment and a world apart from that fish. What better place to go than American fast food on the ground floor for a good detox. I ordered my #5 combo and the girl told me, “You wait some minutes.” Now I feel compelled to take another detour to explain this uniquely Vietnamese phrase. Whether Sapa in the north, Phu Quoc Island in the south, or all points in between, this is the phrase people know. And who put ”You wait some minutes” and it’s cousin “You wait some minutes for me” into the nationwide school curriculum? It’s ubiquitous albeit frustratingly wrong.
“Some minutes” is an indeterminate amount of time wholly up to the system in which you find yourself mired. At KFC “some minutes” turned out to be ten for a simple $3 takeaway combo. Some minutes later I was dining on my combo plate in the comfort of my apartment wondering why I had cheated on Vietnamese cuisine. I do have the sight of the poached fish out of my system but now pray that the Zinger doesn’t zing through it some minutes later. At least this fried chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise reminded me of why I love fresh Vietnamese food. As tasty as a spicy Zinger and fries are, this detour reminds me though of why I need to get off the western food trail as soon as possible and spend some minutes getting back into some real food exploration.