Travelling to Vietnam in lunch

A particular meeting of circumstances lead to me having such a blissful lunch.

I travelled to Vietnam a few months back. They said to try the street noodles while sitting on the baby chairs on the pavement outside something you really couldn’t describe as a restaurant, but rather a tiny tiled square that pulls noodles and beer from its cupboard. We found the one with only locals. We ate buckets of bright green veggies and noodles and slurped the broth from the bottom.

Back home, I’m an avid supported of a local vegetable initiative in Cape Town, Abalimi Bezekaya. Township residents are trained to become organic farmers, not only to feed themselves, but also to sell their produce to us city folk. The box is a mystery each week, but the contents is always incredible – best potatoes in Cape Town.

The contents of the veggie box changes according to the season, but there’s always a lot of the usual veg you’d see at the supermarket. Sometimes there’s a curveball. This week it was a small bundle of leaves with what seemed like a core at the bottom.

Uneducated as I am, Google had to tell me it was bok choy. And suddenly I recognised the green veggies that topped some of the heaps of noodles I had in Vietnam. Perhaps not every heap, but they definitely reminded me of the greens I had there.

Other coincidences were fresh spinach in the box and four particular things in my pantry: rice noodles, soy sauce, garlic and ginger.

The weather played along nicely too. Cloudy and damp, perhaps a bit colder than Indochina, but hey, it looked the same.

Et voila! Five minutes later I felt like I was back there, slurping my noodles and crunching my greens.

How nice when all the good things meet.


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