Monday, May 4, 2015

Lost Appetite in Translation

Even Google Passes on This 

Whenever in the course of my travels I find myself in a new place one of the first things I do is seek out the local markets. I do this for two reasons.
1. There's a genuine vibe here. No menus in English. No matching furniture. No board of health. You want to get an authentic taste of a place - literally and figuratively - this is where you come.
2. Compared to most markets my kitchen looks pretty damn clean.
I love exploring these places. Taking in the unusual sights and the unidentifiable food. Soaking up the atmosphere, from the odor in the air to the squishy, sticky mess underfoot. And yes, eating. Always.
Although once in a while I have to pass.

This photo was taken in Chau Doc, Viet Nam, on my first day in country. I didn't have a dictionary or a phrase book with me. I am comfortable enough without one. Usually. Of course the woman manning this cart wasn't selling manure sandwiches, but a brief look beyond the bread and veggie display told me only that 'dùng' was likely a form of meat. I'm not a vegetarian but I am a know-what-I'm-eating-ian.

Back in 2007 I passed on the dùng. I just now tried to figure out what I missed. And I can't. The 'cha' up there means sausage...maybe. Or father. Jambon is French for the same isn't it? Sausage I mean, not father. But that dùng has got me stumped. Google translates it into a variety of words: use, employ, handle, manipulate and, among many others, consume.

So all I can gather is the woman is advertising the use of sausage. Which may or may not be your idea of lunch in public but like I said, you want a taste of the local culture, this is where to find it.

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