Bún chả giò & fortune cookies

I had lunch today at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant, and I had my favorite dish, called Bún chả giò.   Don’t ask me how to pronounce it.  I’ve never gotten it right and now I’m rather embarrassed to try, so I just point at it in the menu and mumble something that sounds something like “boon chow gow.”  The server never laughs outright, so I tip really big.

Bún chả giò

This picture looks something like what I had.  What I find most interesting about the dish is the wonderful mix of textures.  It is layered with a bit of fresh salad, noodles, strips of Vietnamese style beef, and sliced egg rolls, and a bit of a sweet sauce.   I love it!

I always feel a little proud when I take someone new to this restaurant.  My parents, particularly my mom, was very good at getting us to try new restaurants and new foods whenever we were out and about.  I think this must be a bit uncommon because the usual reaction I get from my friends when I suggest going there is an immediate dubious look and the immediate search for excuses or an alternative restaurant suggestion.

Most of the time, though, when my dining companions are brave enough to try the place, they rave about the cuisine and I feel a small sense of accomplishment in introducing them to something new.

This particular place also ends the meal with the traditional Chinese fortune cookie.  I’m pretty sure they don’t have these in Vietnam, and they probably don’t have them in China either.   I’m guessing it’s just a bit of Americanization that customers have come to expect.

You have probably noticed too, that the “fortunes” in the cookies have stopped, for the most part, being fortunes but are more like proverbs.   Today’s little tidbit was something special though.  An affirmation!  It read “Other enjoy your radiance.”

My immediate reaction upon reading the little slip of paper was to joke about it.  It told my aunt, who was with me, that it was like getting a “get out of jail free” card in the game of Monopoly.  The next time someone accuses me of being cranky, I can just whip out this little slip of paper and say, “Oh yeah?  Look here, others enjoy my radiance and here’s proof!”

Upon reflection, I’ve decided that this is really a great compliment to give someone.  We, as flawed and fallible humans, can exude so much about ourselves.  Wouldn’t it be nice if that was really something radiant?  Perhaps that pentecostal grace of the Holy Spirit, really imbibing us with joy and determination, can really be seen by others in how we conduct our lives.

I’m going to keep this little slip of paper in my wallet and the next time I see that radiance in someone, I’ll try to slip it to them in a way that doesn’t tarnish them.

2 thoughts on “Bún chả giò & fortune cookies

  1. Show them that, and then play this for them:

    This is one of my theme songs – and you ARE radiant. Nice blog post – keep them coming!

  2. Well, I was going to say something terrible, like, “Brunswick stew! For your mom!”

    But you ended so beautifully, radiantly if you will, that I can’t. Because the goofy slip of paper is right. Believe it. 🙂

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