Some of you know that I am making a return trip to Canada on May 24. I will do my best to continue the blogs, but please be advised that the content will change from topic about Vietnam, to topics about Canada. I now have enough readers that I may be able to inform and entertain about where I am from. If any of you have any specific questions about Canadian topics, I will be happy to oblige. If know the answers. There will most likely be two days or so with no entries, as I will be in transit. I am currently struggling for today’s topic. So let’s just talk about today until something pops into my mind.
The day started by my wife announcing that I was going to cook a western meal for all of my employees……. Uh…. OK… So the hunt was on for any kind of ingredients to make a meal similar to what we would have back home. I remember that I actually saw a package of Shake and Bake in a small food store that had western items, somewhere…. But I could not remember. I spent hours cycling from place to place looking but to no avail….. Damn!!! Where did I see it? I never did end up finding the rare treasure, however, I was able to find a bottle of Kraft BBQ sauce, and some Heinz beans in sauce….. Perfect!! Almost got it! I instructed my wife to go to the market and buy a loin of pork and have it cut into ¾ inch slices…… ( AHA!!, there is my topic!) I had Mai pick up a lot of potatoes and here is the meal I came up with. After boiling, half the potatoes I mashed and whipped into a creamy mashed potatoes salted and slightly garlicky. The other half I fried in a pan until golden brown and the edges crunchy. The vegetable was simply good old canned beans in Sauce… Something that is rare here. I knew it would be a it as I have never met anybody that does not like canned beans. Lastly, I baked the pork chops, covered with BBQ sauce and salted to what I considered the correct amount. After everything was finished, I added another coat of BBQ sauce and heated everything so the meal was all hot at the same time, not like is so common in Vietnam and have the dishes cold….. An alien concept to them. The pork chops could have been better as the thickness was no where near being uniform, so the thinner pieces were tough, and the thicker pieces just right. Now here is where the fun begins….. My darling Khuyen… bless her… had no idea how to deal with the meat. She had a knife in front of her, but had no idea how to use it to cut her meat. My nephew ended up cutting her meat for her like a mother would do for a child. Other comments were it tasted good, but weird. They had a bit of a problem with the texture of the mashed potatoes. Does that remind you of us and squid? It should!!! Very same thing! All in all it was a success and hopefully I will not be asked to cook another western dinner any time soon. I need to travel to Saigon to get even some of the most basic ingredients.
Other events of the day….. A fellow named Carl and I have become friends and we spent part of the day cycling into some of those country roads I have talked about in the past. We set off after enjoying a smoothie of passion fruit, Mango, and yogurt…. Ahhhhhh Ambrosia….. It was a nice ride, but much too brief. Some storm clouds came rolling in and we had to cut the ride short. Tomorrow I imagine we will head off somewhere else and perhaps have a new adventure… Wow!! Just noticed!! A lot of action next door tonight. Too bad nobody is here to enjoy it with me.
About pork… It is probably one of the most common and similar meats as at home. The meat is slightly tougher, but not by much and a finicky eater can always find a pork chop on rice dish to hold them over. The problem I have with pork here it that the cuts are totally different from what I am used to. Pork lions are sold, but to have them cut into anything bigger than a ¼ inch is a hardship. The meat cutter cannot imagine why you would want such a thing and start shaving it thin… even against your wishes. Pork ribs are also totally different. If you buy pork ribs, it will consist of a single rib cut along it’s length from top to bottom including all the other parts that come with it. Have to tee you though….. It is good…. The pork here is probably the best meat next to fish. Chicken and beef can be tough, but pork is always the same.