the earl’s challenge: #4 — pâté thit nguôi [at “Ba Xuyen”]

8 Jul

Ba Xuyen

balance. in grub, as in life, pleasure comes from balance. meals should be harmonic symphonies, no matter how elegant the setting or how simple the ingredients. the pâté thit nguôi from ba xuyen is one such symphony, playing out every day in a modest vietnamese restaurant in brooklyn. an abundance of pork products–smoky pate, ham, bbq pressed sausage, pork roll, head cheese (which tastes far better than it sounds), and white roast pork–move in harmony with a generous heap of pickled veggies. a crispy, foot-long baguette provides the overture, while a spicy mayo-based sauce beats a delicious tempo, tying all the ingredients together in a symphonic whole. my first hesitant bite led to another, and then another, and another, until, finally, the experience crescendoed with my last crunchy, pickly, porky, sweet, spicy bite. costing only four bucks, this classic champ is tastier than many ‘wiches four times its price tag. can there be balance in addiction? only if there is resistance–and resist i must, or else i will play this symphony over and over again until the lights go out and the audience leaves me to my gastrointestinal fate.

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