I like Co Bang a lot, despite its usual roudy crowd of middle-aged Vietnamese men who are typically inebriated throughout the entirety of my/their dinner. Bang's deep-fried squid and beef with mushroom are reason enough to keep me coming back, even if that means I must endure mockery and humiliation by these invalids who think I'm so funny. Ha ha ha. I get it.
But last night, as I sat down alone at the table closest to the front and flipped through the poorly-translated English version of Co Bang's menu, a man who I've never seen before came over to my table. He stood right next to me, with his hands on the back of my neighboring chair, and said, "Please pick!"
I didn't want to disappoint the guy, so I re-directed my attention from him to the menu. Everything always looks so good there.
"What do you like?" I asked this stranger, figuring he was a waiter himself, being so attentive to me as he was.
He said, "Um, everything. Where are you from?"
"New York," I answered back, "but I'm currently teaching English at Can Tho university."
"Ahhh," he said, swaying a little bit and holding on tighter to the chair now. "New York! Not lot of rice in New York?"
"Umm, no, we have rice," I said, "but we usuaully eat pasta more. Do you like pasta?"
"Mmm, yes," he retorted, looking ever-so pensive. "I like pasta...CHOCOLATE!"
Pasta chocolate?! I thought to myself. If I haven't even tried something that awesome in New York and this guy has had it in Vietnam, something is very, very wrong here.
"Well, I go back my friends now," he said, pointing to the empty chair at the table behind him with a half-full glass of Tiger. "Nice talking with you! Bye!"
And there he left me, staring blankly at the menu of Co Bang 173, all other prospects for that night's dinner looking so dull in comparison to chocolate pasta.