Challenge of the Week

The other evening was Old Raz (big brother) and his buddies' last night in Vietnam { for now :o } so we enjoyed a grand ole' feast at Square One Restaurant in the Park Hyatt Saigon. Below is no ordinary nathan's famous, ladies and gents. Here's what the folks down at the park like to call: Duck sausage stuffed with foie gras, confit and pistachio. Duck 3 ways, in one bite! Just about as heart stopping as it sounds. Unctuousness that I can *and will* get down with. Assisting in digestion for the night: gruyere mac 'n cheese, mashed spuds, parsley-butter wild mushrooms, a quadruple layer chocolate cake that was just ridiculous in it's girth as well as a fresh-baked coconut crumble- for our fruits, ya know.

Photo courtesy of Old Raz's iPhone 4. See, it's not that amazing don't buy it. No more cell phone shots. Good thing I rock the black and white Nokia from the tecmo-bowl era.

- - -

That meal was satisfying for sure, one of my better [ western style ] chow-downs in quite some time. I think Old finally experienced fullness, something that had eluded him the previous 5 days: "Vietnamese food is good - it's just not ENOUGH!". I couldn't blame the [Old] kid. Vietnamese food is good, it's really good- especially if you lose your inhibitions and forgot about those dated western schools of thought about which part of the animal should be eaten [Pig ear? Duck tongues? Rooster balls?] and how a food should smell [Durian anyone? Mắm Tôm]. If you let down your guard and simply indulge in these 'odd' yet imaginative eastern meals, you'll have a grand time uncovering the hundreds and hundreds of regional dishes on offer. The longer I stay here, the more comfort I find in each food. Inside that steaming bowl of canh chua isn't just the fantastic essence of fish bones, tamarind and pineapple, but memories from a uniquely unconventional lifestyle in Việt Nam that I already miss even before saying farewell.

Comforting, it is. But hearty? Maybe not so much. I'm just thinkin' 2 a.m. status after a hard night of Gin 'n Tons. As I exit the bar in a utter state of disorientation- the only thing I can be sure of is I need to fill my gut pronto. Am I headed down here to slurp up a bowl of rice noodles and herbs or over there to mindlessly gorge on a plateful of al pastor tacos. For me the choice is clear. It's even worth that bright red grease stain from the pork fat drippings I always find on the underside of my wrist- the next morning. You've been there. Note: I adore Mexican food at all hours of the day, in all states of consciousness. Just so we're clear.

My point here is. Um. Yeah, that sometimes there's no replacement for that big hunk of pork shoulder or tuna belly. But what if you had to find a replacement? What if you couldn't snack on bone-in rib-eye, crispy fried flounder or smoked spareribs. How would you live I ask you?

Bringing me to my challenge of the week.

2 corn [over]fed rib-eye circa 2oo7. { Shot courtesy of one of my main boys: Sean Desmond - who's doing crazy thangs out in S.F. Check him out. }

Go Veggie.

Say whaaat?


Aight then. Cool.

For seven days I'll be abstaining from all meats, fish and fish related products. Including nước mắm. What's that? Oh, only the fermented anchovy sauce that's found in 99% of all savory dishes in this Country. For people in the states it's kinda like saying: 'Let's go out to eat tonight, but my friend Bill over here doesn't eat salt. Lets find him a salt-free restaurant for some tasty salt-less meatloaf.' Sure it's not that tough and yes there are Vegetarian spots in town but I'm making another point here.


No meat or fish
No meat or fish based broths
No nước mắm
Eggs are chill
No western restaurant meals {Bread O.K.}
No whining - at least I still get to eat

No, I wasn't motivated by some youtube PETA vid and no I won't be permanently switching to Vegetarianism. I love crazy variety, and to cut out ANY food group would be considerable un-global of me. I'm really doing see what happens. One part curiosity, one part challenge. Check that- It's almost a embarrassing to call this a challenge as my brother trains for his second consecutive IRONMAN triathlon- but the Yung has gotta start somewhere. Keep in mind I'm not sure if I've gone veggie for more than 7 hours- let alone 7 days. Maybe this will train me to be a bit more imaginative when choosing my meals- hunt down the unfamiliar stuff, ya hear? Maybe my skin will glow. Maybe my gray hairs will turn black again. Maybe I'll have amazing bowl movements, endless energy and become one with all the butterflies in the rainforest. Or maybe I'll be so weak by the 4th day for protein deficiency that I give in to a plate of lard slathered pork chops. Only time will tell.

Stay Focused.


Mel said...

You're going from foie gras stuffed duck sausage to vegetarianism? Dude, you nuts! hehe

Ana Powell said...

Good luck on your challenge.
I just would not like to live on vegetables only.
Take care ♥

Old Raz said...

C'mon child! The photo quality isn't THAT bad! Remember, it's a damn PHONE, have you seen pictures taken from a Blackberry?? Craptastic!! Also, maybe that filter you put on it might have to do with the poor quality you seem to think it has. Just sayin'....Other than that, good luck with the challenge, are you going to do daily updates?

Reima said...

You're crazy. Even I can't do that! Ok, ok, I can do without beef for a week for sure, maybe just maybe with chicken, but no way with fish!! Good luck. I think you'll be able to do it! I'll make fun of you if you stop, but of course I'll only let it slide if you get sick, so don't worry.

Oh and you will become one with the butterflies in the rainforest whether or not you go vegetarian for a week! They are beautiful there :) I can't wait to go back again!

Jenny said...

Good luck, dude. Keep us updated. I would say I'd join you but...well, you're on your own.

Mai said...

Eat rice with banana and soy sauce!

Btw, eggs are chill? Com'on, go all the way Anthony!

A. Rizzi said...

@Mel: It's an experience. I tell ya.

@Ana: Neither would I, I'm discovering.

@OLD: Just a phone?!? Try walking into an iStore and saying that. They'll iHang you with a firewire conversion cord right then and there. Recap coming soon.

@Reima: I assume you're talking about Brazil? I'll have to take a look one day.

@Jenny: I respect that choice :()

@Mai: I thought eggs were fine!! Ok.. next time I'll attempt the raw foods/vegan combo diet and see how long till I croak.

Reima said...

I'd go back there for sure! No, I just came back from seeing it again somewhere else and already thinking about going somewhere new..

Keep going! The week is almost done!

Carolyn Jung said...

You are brave!!
Either that or someone is holding you hostage to make you do this. heehee

That's Ron said...

good luck man... lol

hey any tips or things i should try in hanoi / halong bay? will be heading there in december

Mel said...

Wow, challenge must have sucked because you haven't posted anything.


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