I'll Have The Genitals, Please


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There’s something a little inappropriate about Pho Sure/Baoguette, Michael
Huynh’s new Vietnamese noodle-slash-sandwich joint in the West Village.

There are the kneeling Vietnamese maidens in barely-there tops plastered all over the wallpaper in a comely repeat pattern. And then, there’s the bull’s penis, practically waving at you from the menu. 

Yes, that would be the sliced up genitals of a bull served either with pho or a simmering hot bowl of soup.

Feel uncomfortable yet?

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The Breakfast Dinner


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In every relationship, there inevitably is that one early thing that you disagree on.

Ours was pancakes.

Mike, he’ll eat them any and every day of the week for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. Me, I love me my sweets but even at brunch, give me noodles or a hunk of red meat and eggs over pretty pancakes anytime. 

You learn to compromise, of course. And so over the last eight years, Marion Cunningham and I have become well-acquainted.

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And Now For A Pause


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It always comes to this, a mad race to the finish.

I knew I was in trouble when I found myself slurping up the remnants
of a big bowl of beef ball noodles last week while plotting, mid-bite,
to have a second dinner at Swee Kee, a Hainanese chicken rice joint that’s been drawing crowds for decades.

There’s never enough time when it comes to eating in Singapore. And my last days there before heading back to New York are always filled with crazed eating marathons as I frantically squeeze in that one last bowl of prawn noodles, that one last dish of Hainanese curried squid, all to tide me over until my next trip back.

Inevitably, when I return to New York, there has to be a break.

The palate must be cleansed; the body needs a rest.

This time, I’d come back eager to rev up my stove again after weeks of squatting in my aunties’ kitchens. But, what to make?

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A Very Silly Breakfast


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The thing about returning to New York from a long trip halfway across the world is, your body does strange things. Like, popping awake all sparkly and chirpy the first moment the sun nudges it.

At 7 a.m., I call the Sis. “Let me guess–Mike’s still asleep and you’re jetlagged and bored.” She is, as we two say, corright

I’m not quite sure what to do with myself that early on a Saturday. So I slip out to look for sausages.

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The Real Thing


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I’ve been thinking recently about the notion of “authentic” food.

There’s an interesting story in Singapore’s Straits Times today about foreign eateries trying to bring authentic takes on their native cuisines to Singapore. French boulangerie Le Grenier à Pain, for example, apparently stuck to its crusty baguettes even though Singaporeans typically favor softer versions that local bakeries serve up. Ditto for Quiznos and its authenticity. (Yes, this article actually cites the American food-court sandwich chain in its roundup.)

Nonetheless, there are some Singaporeans who disagree with this business strategy — one is quoted as saying that restaurants should take local preferences into account since “the customer picks what he likes most, whether or not it’s true to the original taste.”

The story made me think of the tale a friend recently told me of taking his Beijing girlfriend to Italy. There, she sniffed at the way Italians do Italian pasta dishes, finding them lacking when compared with the versions she’s had in China.

Sure, cuisines get altered all the time when they migrate from country to country — ingredients are added, steps are subtracted. But what happens when the tweaked, polyglot product ends up being what people believe to be authentic?

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