Saigon Green, a very popular beer in Ho Chi Minh City
My landlord loves to “take beers” with me. Whenever I see him he invites me out. Last week, Sara and I had to pay our rent. Remembering the drunken sloppy night that was last rent-due-day, and the proceeding day’s hangover, I sent him a text message early in the day: Can you please come get the rent early, I have to go out for dinner with friends tonight. It was a lie that I told on behalf of my liver. He asked if I could drop it off on the way to my friend’s house. I agreed to meet him at a restaurant where he was drinking with his work friends. Of course, when we arrived he insisted we have a beer with him. I told him we only had one hour before we had to be at our friend’s house. He managed to drive four beers into me in that time.
When drinking with a Vietnamese person, there are a few things to remember:
Rob and I flew into Ho Chi Minh on August 1st. I was expecting to be disappointed, as we were really late for the reported season, in June, and I’d heard that Vietnam only grows Monthong anyway. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Vietnam has an estimated 20 unique varieties, undiscovered and unnamed treasures that I hope will survive the insidious encroachment of Monthong and Musang King.
The word for “durian” in Vietnamese is Sau Rieng (pronouced Sow-Ree-Eng). Its literal translation is “one’s own sorrows” or “private sadness.” The story goes that a long time ago, a Vietnamese solder went to war in Thailand. There he met a beautiful girl and married her. She loved a fruit called “durian.” Unfortunately, something happened to her and she died. When the soldier returned to Vietnam, he brought with him her beloved fruit.
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