Date Two

For my second date, she-who-must-not-be-named (we’ll call her Hue) recommended a bar in the old quarter called Polite Pub. The bar was a 1920s speakeasy-type place with black and white photos from prohibition-era America. There was a live band and a pretty funky cocktail menu, so right off the bat I was glad to be there considering most of the other bars I had seen were full of tourists and backpackers and had about as much personality as a piece of lint. Hue, however, was very shy and kept half-smiling at me but with the corners of her mouth turned down in a way that made it seem like she felt bad for me for having food or something on my face. (I eventually went to the bathroom to check on this and confirmed that, no, I did not have food on my face, thereby suggesting that she just felt bad for me for having my face on my face.) She gave me less useful tips than An did, but gave me a lot of interesting information on Vietnamese food, including that fact that people eat dog meat here (including herself in the past). However, she noted that people don’t eat labradors because their meat tastes bad, at which point I tried to look super surprised and said “even… chocolate labs?!” Hue wasn’t big on my jokes so she just stared at me blankly and said, “yes. All labradors taste bad.”

We eventually left Polite Pub and I suggested we grab a snack before parting ways. She seemed thrilled by the idea and quickly led me to a little hole-in-the-wall place on a side street and ordered something off the menu in Vietnamese without telling me what it was. At this point she was smiling without looking uncomfortable about my face, so I was thrilled that she had potentially ordered something really good. I was wrong. The waitress came back with a plate of battered and fried chicken talons, which was not what I had in mind when I suggested we get a snack. And no, in case you’re wondering, they weren’t chicken legs or wings. I’m talking about the gross stripey claws that chickens walk around on. She took one look at my face, which had assumed an expression of pure horror, and started hysterically laughing. Apparently these used to be her favorite snack as a kid, and when I told her I was hesitant to eat them she said, in a nice rebuttal of my chocolate lab joke, “what are you…. chicken?” Never one to let myself be called a chicken of all things, I took a bite (or should I say, put my foot in my mouth. Ha.). On impact I decided then and there that chicken claws are fucking gross—that, unlike almost everything else, they don’t taste like chicken—and that Hue was essentially just trying to bully me at this point. We parted ways and I walked back to my hostel and googled “help ate chicken talon am I dying!”

The Vietnam Catfish (Pt. 2) was last modified: July 14th, 2016 by Zeb Goodman