Revisit: Vietnamese food. When I first got to Vietnam, I thought I could eat pho bo every single day. (I was wrong, though. No way could I eat noodles every day.) I have one simple question for those who rave about the food in Vietnam: What did you eat? The answer is usually spring rolls and pho. “Yeah, yeah…you haven’t stayed here long enough,” I think to myself. Thing is, I like Vietnamese food just fine in the US.
Bunco Night. One evening here in Lima, Fiona and I went to play Bunco with some other expats – many of them stay-at-home wives. For the past year, when asked where I live, I just say “here”. (Where else do I live?) The issues arise when I’m asked “how long” I’ve lived “here” and I answer in the days or weeks. One woman at Bunco wanted to know more and asked where I was before Peru and I mentioned Vietnam. She was quite interested, as she’d been born in Saigon in the 1950s and had lived there her first 12 years.
Here it comes… “How did you like the food?” she asked cordially. I told her honestly, not that much. She surprised me by replying, “I heard that! That the food quality has declined the past few decades. The best cooks left in the 70’s and 80’s; that’s why Vietnamese food is better in the US and France than in Vietnam.” Wow. Finally, someone to corroborate my thoughts.
MSG Allergy? I told her I’d often felt dizzy and sweaty after eating food in Vietnam, especially soup. “You’re allergic to MSG!” Maybe that’s why I don’t like Vietnamese food in Vietnam. This woman was a trove of insight.
Peruvian food: thumbs up. I feel like I disappoint people when I’m honest and say that I didn’t like the food in Vietnam. Luckily, it’s looking to not be the case with Peruvian food. I love it! It’s tasty, not “too” anything and I don’t feel like I’m about to faint after I eat.
Most of what I’ve eaten has been prepared by Fiona’s Peruvian housekeeper, a great cook who’s generous with the olive oil. One afternoon, Fiona and I got the lunch buffet at Señor Limón, a nice chain here in Lima and it was great. (Sorry I didn’t have my camera.)
Tale of Two Restaurants I did bring my camera along for these other two: Panchita and Punto Italiano. And yes, Punto Italiano is not Peruvian, but here it is anyway. Click on the menus to make them as big as they get.
PANCHITA: Av. Dos de Mayo 298, Miraflores, Lima, Peru (Miraflores)
Awesome review on TripAdvisor.
PUNTO ITALIANO in La Molina.
It’s too recently-opened to have reviews anywhere. I really liked the setup and atmosphere. The pizza oven outside, wooden benches, signage and overall layout were really nice. Clearly run by Italians (we overhead them), safe to say the food is pretty authentic.
Pictured here: cheese pizza, lasagna and a calzone.
What about you: Is there a certain cuisine that people gush and gush over that you don’t care for? What country do you think has the best/worst food in the world?