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22 October 2011 / leggypeggy

No, cat wasn’t on the menu

A dinner companion—not a menu item.

A few people in our group are wary of eating local food. Fair enough. I understand that.

After all, you can never be quite sure what ingredients are in a dish or how clean the kitchen and cooking equipment are. I’ve eaten lots of mystery meals that have been tasty but unidentifiable. Just today, Poor John and I shared a dish with an unrecognisable item in it. It was chocolate colour and jelly consistency. Any ideas?

But I’ve been lucky, and for a few decades I have not been sick from the food I’ve eaten.

When travelling, Poor John and I figure the hole-in-the-wall restaurants and street stalls are excellent choices. Heck, they start over each day with fresh ingredients and a clean pan or two. Think of it this way—if you buy something that is cooked in front of you, at least you can be certain it hasn’t hung around for hours in the sun and heat.

Since we’ve hit Southeast Asia, a few people seem to be worried that cat or dog will turn up in their meal. We’ve tried to reassure them that cat and dog are considered delicacies and would be seriously expensive—street food costs a $1 or so.

It doesn't take a lot of kitchen to make great food.

We added the chillies.

The other night in Hanoi, we stopped at a little place that was a cross between a hole-in-the-wall and a street stall. Soon after we were seated, the owner’s cat popped out from under the stairs and came to greet us. Although cat was nowhere on the menu, the cat’s antics could make you wonder.

We ordered a delicious beef noodle soup that we chose by pointing to a bowl in front of another fellow. It was that international hand-signal conversation that says ‘we’ll have what he’s having’. We pointe, gave a thumbs up and looked quizzical, and he replied with a smile, nod and a reassuring thumbs up.

And in case I forget to mention it somewhere, I have to learn the Southeast Asian recipes for chicken and beef stocks. Their broths are sensational and SO clear.


Leave a Comment
  1. Sy S. / Oct 23 2011 10:47 am

    “Poor John and I shared a dish with an unrecognisable item in it. It was chocolate colour and jelly consistency. Any ideas?”
    It sounds like congealed duck blood….!

    The Chinese have big farms raising Labrador Retrievers, good meat and not to fatty…. Being a dog lover, this is hard to imagine. I have seen a TV video clips of the caretakers hugging and loving the dogs.. .then to market they go???!!!

    Sy S.


  2. leggypeggy / Oct 24 2011 10:51 pm

    Congealed duck blood? Oh yum? But now that you mention it, that certainly was a possibility.
    I, too, can’t imagine eating dog. I love their company too much.


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