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Eating My Way Through Vietnam and Cambodia

Updated: May 26, 2020

My mouth waters when the waiter sets down a steaming bowl of noodle soup. Bits of fresh vegetables and chicken float in the broth. The wide rice noodles are the perfect texture. I squeeze fresh lime over the soup. The broth is one of the most flavorful I've ever tasted. Tiny red chili peppers add enough of a bite that my nose runs and eyes water. The peppers are spicy but they don't mask the other flavors.

It's breakfast. I love that I can eat pho or dim sum or fried rice or some other Asian food early in the morning. Both here and in Vietnam, the breakfast buffets are amazing—cooked-to-order pancakes, waffles, eggs Benedict, omelets, and pho; homemade jams, jellies, nut butters, and pastries; tropical fruits; freshly pressed watermelon, guava, orange, carrot, and green monster juices; smoked mackerel and salmon. Vietnam had a bit more variety and included such things as stir-fried beef, sautéed frogs legs, and sushi.

One of the best meals I've had so far was close to the Mekong River in Vietnam. I hopped off a boat and took a short walk through the vegetation that ended in a French colonial style house. After a tasty five-vegetable soup, a fried elephant-eared fish arrived at the table. It was propped upright, still smiling, as it if never left the ocean. The server then proceeded to pick off pieces which she added to lettuce and herbs, rolling the whole concoction into a fresh rice roll wrapper.

When the fish was nothing but a skeleton, a clay pot of Vietnamese pork arrived with a side of rice. I managed to consume most of it before fresh, full cream yogurt and tropical fruits appeared.

In the USA I eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a bowl of soup or a salad for lunch and, on most days, a modest dinner of vegetables and fish or meat. Here I eat only two meals a day, but I'll still probably come home with a few more pounds than I left with. There are so many things to try.

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