For a girls’ get together what is more enjoyable than mouths full of foreign food and gossip, and that’s how “Vietnamese food in Hamburg” happened to me.
My adventure with Vietnamese food in Hamburg began with the menu
It was a German menu with Vietnamese dishes. I picked up a few words like noodles, rice, and salad, and then delegated the task to my kind German friend. She said “I’m going to order &*#@$@!@#*& with fish”, “the same with tofu” I added. After we accomplished the second most difficult chore of dining out, the first being paying the bill, she described the dish to me. Turns out we ordered a soup for lunch, I repeat, a soup for lunch. Aghast, I rolled my eyes at her to say whoever eats soup for lunch, especially when you haven’t eaten a good meal for a week counting on the said lunch.
Spring rolls for starter
I ordered spring rolls for starter, on my own, mind you, because it was a familiar dish. They are called Frühlingsrolle in German, while Frühling stands for spring, so no hassles there.
A couple of minutes after the spring rolls arrived, I excused myself and said I’m going to be uncivil and eat them with my hands. For when I tried to eat them with a fork, the rolls started collapsing, exposing their innards. What is the point of ordering spring rolls for starters, if I had to spend most of my time gathering the morsels, instead of enjoying them only to be reminded that it was restaurant’s closing time. My friends followed suit, and I breathed a sigh of relief, I didn’t feel lonely anymore in the pursuit of being uncivil.
When the soup arrived
When the soup arrived, I understood why people eat it for lunch. The massive bowl contained what seemed like five litres of soup. Now I moved on to the next challenge, that is, what to eat it with. It was too watery with floating vegetables and tofu in it.
The cutlery included forks, spoons and chopsticks. And not having a knife made the decision-making process slightly less complex. If I ate it with a spoon, the ordinary spoon, not the soup spoon, by the time I finish, it would be winter. For context, presently it is summer here, except the sun went missing for weeks, a normal phenomenon in Hamburg.
If I choose a fork, how am I going to eat all the watery soup? Chopsticks, forgetaboutit! I learnt to use chopsticks a few times. Every time a friend who tried to train me would say, “it is simple, just hold them like you would hold a pen”. The trouble is I never held two pens at the same time. So, I attempted to learn until I had blisters on my fingers. Eventually, I swore off chopsticks to address the other pressing issues in my life like checking Instagram posts.
So back to the decision of what to eat it with, I chose a fork and picked all the floating vegetables and noodles with it and ate for a while, until I realised that the broth was feeling left out. Then I reached for a spoon and ate the soup for another little while. I already spent nearly half hour with it, only half-listening to all the gossips, and yet emptied only half of the soup. Suddenly, I noticed a woman on the opposite table drink the soup straight out of the bowl. My jaw dropped, I cursed her for not doing it slightly earlier, while I was fighting an uphill battle.
Moral of the story
Once again, I excused myself and said: “I’m going to be uncivil and directly swallow the soup out of the bowl”. After an hour of this gruelling exercise, some soup still remained. The moral of the story, don’t judge a Vietnamese soup by its sound.
That said, I thorough enjoyed eating Vietnamese food in Hamburg, loaded with coriander and other familiar spices and vegetable. The delicious soup still comes in my dreams. Slurp.
Also, read My favourite things to do in Hamburg