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Page 5


The double whammy

After we went to lunch and ate some bún chả Hà Nội the other day, a friend and I went to grab some drinks at a local coffee shop.

Now this coffee shop has a grundle of different coffees, fruit drinks, teas, and waters to choose from - I'd say they easily have 30 different drinks - so, feeling a bit overwhelmed because everything on the menu is in Vietnamese and there are no pictures for us người phương Tây (westerners) to point to and do the smiling head bob, I asked my friend to surprise me with a new drink.

I actually got two surprises. 

After the waiter took our order, my friend turned to me and chuckled stating that the waiter asked her if she was a native Vietnamese citizen!? My VIETNAMESE friend, was born and raised in Ha Noi…so my response was "whaaaaat???" why would he think you weren't a native?"

She said he asked her because she was asking many questions about the different drinks they had - which is true, but certainly not unusual. Suspecting more, I pressed her further. 

Because she was with me (a foreigner) and we look about the same age, the waiter assumed that we were married, she had had been born in a western country, and we were on vacation in Ha Noi. Now you have to understand that this coffee shop was not in a tourist area, nor is it in a expat neighborhood. 

Was my friend messing with me? No. I had heard about this sort of false assumption being made about men and women who accompany westerners. They assume they are tour guides or spouses or a couple.

So you may be wondering what drink my friend surprised me with: here its below:

picture of glass of tea on left and coffee on right , sitting on wooden coasters on a table.

The drink on the left is my friend's cup of tea. To me it looks like they just took a bag of potpourri and dumped it into hot water. 

My drink, was a glass of cold coffee. Not just any coffee. This is a glass of “salt coffee” and it was indeed salty. I believe my heart is still beating at a rate upwards of “two Red Bulls, a Monster drink, and a berry 5-hour extra energy drink” per minute.  

The drink contains coffee, condensed milk, salt, and ice. Good thing I have low blood pressure and a healthy heart!

Oh, by the way…the two smaller porcelain cups on the table have the ubiquitous green tea that is brought to every customer, just like glasses of water in American restaurants. The little porcelain pitcher has black sugar water for adding to my friend's tea.



JULY, p. 9

AUGUST, p. 9


OCTOBER,  p.g 2,  p. 3, p. 4

NOVEMBER p.2, p.3, p.4, p.5, p.6, p.7

DECEMBER p.2, p.3, p.4, p.5 p.6, p.7, p.8


FEBRUARY, p.2, p.3, p.4, p.6