Saturday, June 09, 2007

She Tells Me What I Want, What I Really REALLY Want

Is there any surer sign of delicious things to come than being abused by a hundred-fifty year old Vietnamese woman?

I was craving a noodle bowl, so I headed to what people optimistically call "Little Saigon" aka, the strip mall off the interstate next to Target.

My regular noodle house was closed but Sunflower, just across the parking lot, was open.

After about ten minutes of playing with a cute little Vietnamese girl who kept showing me magic tricks wherein she would make starlight mints vanish and reappear ("you keep looking there, I'll be right back") an ancient woman with a note pad came up to me and asked what I wanted.

"I would like the crispy tofu. Number 71."

"No, no salt. No good"

I explained to her that the no salt thing was okay, and that I'd still like it. She then explained to me that no, I wouldn't still like it. Instead, I wanted the number 77, crispy tofu with mixed pickled vegetables and salt.

I tried one more time for the plain tofu, but after she made an awful face, I demurred and let her bring me the 77.

My God, it was the most delicious Vietnamese food I'd ever had. Perfect crispy tofu without any sour or bitter flavor, crunchy pickled carrots, purple cabbage and onion shreds with fresh tomato slices and topped with a pile of cilantro. There was a little bowl of some manner of fish sauce with a hot sauce floated on top and on the side, a small bowl of sea salt mixed with black pepper and garlic.

It was so good I liketa died.

I told the lady how good it was. She seemed partially pleased but mostly confused as to why I'd given her trouble in the first place.

As I left and she was sweeping up with a broom that had no discernable handle, just a ribbon tying the straws together, she yelled

"next time you come back, I give you something GOOD!"


Blogger Rachel's Big Dunk said...


This post made me laugh out loud.

None of my in-laws are 105 yet... but they sure know how to cook. And they certainly THINK they know what I want, even if I, foolishly, disagree.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth K said...

that's my target! I live right down the street.

1:53 PM  
Blogger St. Casserole said...

I want that dish right now! Just home from church and I'm hungry.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Mrs. M said...

Dang! She's a lady who doesn't mess around.

12:20 PM  

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