At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Monday, October 07, 2013


"Uncle Van Der Pervert", little children might ask me, "how do you stay so healthy and trim?" And they'll loudly wonder at the magic of it, knowing that I seldom seriously cook anymore, and tend toward very casual dining.
"I mean, you eat all kinda weird crap, and we worry about the fragile digestive system of a man in his early fifties who seemingly avoids fresh fruit and wholesome activities!"
Whereupon I would hasten to reassure them that the weird crap is not always part of my diet; why, there are days when I eat perfectly normal food! Please ignore the instance when I conceived that very old dry salami should make a perfect yoghurt salad (it did -- I added some chopped green chilies and left-over celery), or the many ghastly experiments with the Mexican Death Wurst (of which two inches still repine in the deep-freeze, waiting for the end-times).

Let us instead stress that on Saturday evening I ate only healthy stuff.
Basil leaf chicken (香花草鷄球) over rice. Which contained onion, bell pepper, green chilies, basil, and fresh chicken, plus a modicum of stock and rice wine. The rice was white (not the weird brown stuff). With a fierce jigger of Sriracha hot-sauce and a few dashes of chili pepper vinegar, it was delicious!
Both the Vietnamese ice coffee and the complimentary tea gave a necessary touch of hydration and wake-me-up-againity.

Altogether surely an extremely healthy meal.


In Chinese, basil is either 紫蘇葉 (ji sou yip) or 羅勒 (lou laak). But on the menus of Vietnamese-Chinese restaurants, it may be called 香花草 (heung faa cho). The first name means 'purplish spice-herb leaf', the second literally means 'birdnet strangle', and is probably a time-hallowed transcription of a vernacular name (many such terms exist, often with exceedingly odd meanings), and the third is descriptive: fragrant flower grassy-herb.

Hospitable environment, nice people. They probably think I must be a little odd, seeing as I often eat there, and always dine alone.
Men of my age in their world are not supposed to be single.

But they've never asked prying questions, though I was once required to explain pipes and pipe tobacco......

講明好簡單嘅, 高級煙斗用嘅煙草, 有香有醇, 甜甜潤潤。 味道香甜, 弗吉尼亞州嘅大黃色葉, 感覺如錦。 香馥, 因為土耳其煙。 煙熏味, 係拉塔基亞葉

['Gong-ming hou gan-tan ge, kou-kap yin-tou ge yin-cho, yau heung yau seun, tim-tim yuen-yuen. Mei-to heung tim, Fatgatneiyaa chau ge taai wong-sik yip, gam-gok yiu kam. Heung-fuk, yanwai Touyigei yin. Yinfan-mei hai Laaitaapkeiyaa yip.'
"Simple explanation, high quality pipe tobacco has fragrance and richness, and is both sweet and mellow. The sweet taste derives from Virginia bright leaves, which feel silky to the touch. There is resinous perfume because of Turkish tobacco. The smokiness is Latakia leaf."]

I may have bollixed that up to a fare-thee-well, as it is quite unlikely they understood what the heck I was saying. Communication, unfortunately, is all about communication.

*   *   *   *   *

On Sunday evening, however, I was too tired to head into Chinatown; it had been a very long day. Two severe pipe stems, plus Ashton, Alec Bradley, Ghurka, Avo Uvezian, and a stab at the PerDomo section.
So I simply threw together something that seemed quite logical and sensible at the time: a custard bun sliced in half, with Braunschweiger, cheese, and sliced cucumber. Because the mayonnaise was running low, I added a touch of yoghurt and Crystal hot sauce.
I think it worked, sort of, not sure.
Can't really remember.

Custard and hot sauce compliment each other.
Yoghurt and cucumber will make it healthy.

Ate it off a paper plate in front of the computer, wearing pajama pants and an undershirt. Had a cigar to cap it off.

After several cups of tea I was fast asleep.

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  • At 7:36 AM, Anonymous e-k said…

    Question about Vietnamese Iced Coffee: I had my first one last week at a faux Vietnamese sandwich shop here. I liked the taste (which I think was chicory), but they basically served it as a slushy - where they poured it over crushed ice. Which meant that most of the coffee was inaccessible to drink (unless you wanted to wait for the ice to melt). Is this the usual way VIC is served?

  • At 10:25 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    No, the usual way is over ice cubes. Normally a tall glass of cubes, but one can request less ice.

    I often tell the waitresses that I want only half a glass of ice, so that the coffee cools down but remains strong.

    Some chain Viet sandwich shops out in the suburbs may do it slushy-style because they cater to a different public.

    And ice is optional in any case. Some people like it strong, warm, bitter.

  • At 10:32 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Vietnamese ice coffee: cubes, condensed milk, coffee from that place in New Orleans which adds chicory to their roast, dripped through a contraption on top of the smaller glass.

    Hong Kong milk-tea: no ice, hot, condensed milk, double boiled black tea and Pu-erh, Ceylon, Assam, or Lychee Black Tea strained through a stained cloth filter.

    Bo Ba Milk Tea: almost anything in the world, with condensed milk, chilled or iced or slushed, with big brown tapioca balls which are indigestible and fattening. For instance: honeydew melon rose-tea and kiwi puree over ice with marbles. Stuff like this is drunk by Hello Kitty fans.


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