Another day, another misadventure which, in hindsight, was highly preventable.
The large bowl of pho you’d just had for lunch was not quite enough to satisfy your roving eye, and a woman’s basket of little banana leaf packages proved too tempting to pass up. You pick three at random and ask the price, to which the woman raises an eyebrow.
This should have been your first indication that everything wasn’t going in the direction you would have liked it to.
“Hok phan,” She says, still looking confused.
Oblivious to her body language, you smugly hand over the exact amount and set off back to the hostel- which was the second mistake: witnesses are almost always a bad thing when you aren’t in control of the situation.
It quickly became apparent why the woman seemed so puzzled; the first package was a double-wrapped cube of raw pig fat.
The second package was also double-wrapped, and again contained a small quantity of raw pig fat, but this time with a single chilli included.
With a world-weary sigh you opened the last package to find a little cylinder of cooked rice stuffed with fatty bacon. Then you notice that the final package was the only one with obvious signs of having been cooked. The banana leaf was dark and wilted from the steamer, whereas the previous two were crisp and bright green.. I am an idiot.