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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Most Embarrassing Pho

I sauntered into this Vietnamese restaurant in Albuquerque and ordered the pho, which is essentially a super-big bowl of soup. How cosmopolitan of me. How classy.
Justin, you're going places.

I had no fucking business being in that restaurant.

Picture what it'd look like if you trained your dog to eat with chopsticks and you'll have an idea of what I looked like when I attempted to catch those god-damned noodles and slurp them into my mouth. I fumbled those sticks so badly that most of the food just dropped back into the pho, and that bowl is full of soup broth, so everything I dropped splashed everywhere. I had pho on the table. Pho on my shirt. Pho on the floor.

And I'm hunched over this bowl, slurping so bad it probably sounded intentional. Is slurping bad manners? I was kind of loud. A more intelligent man would've dropped bills on the table and fled the restaurant, but I stayed for the entire meal. It was humiliating.

But do you want to know what made it ten times worse?

The place was empty. Completely empty.

Except for the waiter.

Just one guy. He served me pho, and then he stepped back about two feet and just stood there, and that's where he stayed for the entire meal. He stood right fucking next to me and never moved, never flinched, never fucking did anything while I'm slurping and spitting pho all over the restaurant. Fuck me.

And I managed to make things worse with the side dish: a nice, little salad.
In it, there were these innocent, little cuts of jalapeno, uncooked, seeds and all, and I thought, "Maybe I can't eat pho like a man, but I sure as hell can eat these jalapenos."

Ten seconds later my nose is dripping all over my face. Down my shirt. My eyes are half-shut and my mouth is hanging open. Did I mention that I'd been driving all day with a hood over my head to avoid sunburn so when I took it off in the restaurant the entire back of my head was this big poof, like some kind of hobo mullet. I also had this crazy huge blemish on my nose (I'm thirty years old, what the hell?) and it didn't even look like a blemish. It was freaking enormous. It looked like my nose was broken. Like someone punched me in the face as hard as he could.

At that point, I asked for my bill.


  1. It's actually completely normal in virtually every Asian country to slurp. In fact, it's actually a sign that you're enjoying the meal. You're supposed to lean into the bowl (or, in some cases with smaller soups, raise the bowl to your mouth) and slurp the shit right into your face. It's my personal favorite way to eat.

    Dropping it all over yourself probably isn't too smooth... but then again, Anthony Bourdain says otherwise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r7Uw_XQP7g&t=3m00s

  2. Goddamn, Bourdain. Just climb up onto the table, stick your dick in the pho, and get it over with.

    My pho was good, really good, but apparently it wasn't as good as the one in that video.

  3. When I've eaten Pho they don't serve a side salad, they give a big plate of mung bean sprouts and other veggies that you can put into the pho as you like. Jalapenos are included and I think they're meant to spice up the broth, not to be eaten straight.. at least, I didn't eat mine!

  4. Ohhhh.
    So it wasn't a salad. It was toppings for the pho!