It’s deliciously cool today. I think it drizzled most of the night, and when I went outside this morning, the air was very pleasant. I strolled around, like I usually do, and went to my normal small restaurant on the side of the road. A word is used sometimes for eating food near the street, “an bui.” If it’s translated literally, it means dirty or dusty food. But that’s where I prefer to eat. I’ve never seen any westerners sitting down on little plastic chairs in these places and I like it that way, and it’s cheap and filling.

Last night I strolled around in the rain wearing a poncho that didn’t smell great and doesn’t seem to keep much of my lower body dry. I went and had a new kind of food for me, a type of beef and rice noodle dish from Hue. Once the bowl is on the table, the short ceremony begins: squeezing limes into the broth. I tend to prefer a quite limey flavor, so I used about 4. Then the chili paste. Then a wary taste test. Then the addition of more condiments, if necessary.

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