Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Dog Meat Chronicles, part 1

A few things about eating dog meat:

The funkiest thing about the meal wasn't actually the dog meat itself but the sauce that is used on the side for dipping, muom tom. Muom tom is a sauce made from shrimp paste that I suspect goes through some sort of fermentation process as it certainly stings the nostrils. Muom dom is a greyish lavendar color, which I found a tad disconcerting as well. Fortunately my hosts provided me with a dish of salt, lime juice, and chiles to use as an alternative.

The locals eat dog meat at the end of the lunar month in order to deflect trouble and bad luck. It is unlucky to eat dog meat at the beginning of the month. They also like to eat dog meat when it rains.

It is known in Vietnam as "thit cho" and is pronounced "teet chaw" (which is also the same way the students at school pronounce the word "teacher").

Three different preparations of dog meat: on the bottom is stewed dog meat, above that is roasted dog meat, to the right is dog liver and sausage. At the top of the picture is a dish of muom tom. Later in the meal dog meat on the bone that had been simmered in some sort of broth also came out.

The dog stew was my favorite part of the meal and was quite good in a slow-cooked meat sort of way. The roasted dog was good except for the skin, which was much tougher and chewier than I expected.

These are my hosts and meal companions. That's Hoan (American name: Carlos) and Mr. Tien, the boss men, on the right. The other three are security guards at the school.

The meal was accompanied with what they called rice wine, but although they served it in wine size portions I'm pretty sure that any distilled spirit that rates at 70 proof would be more accurately called liquor. The guy on the left is the only one in this group who can handle his drink. It was his job to make sure the glasses stayed full (note the 2 liter jug at his feet).

They assured me that at the next dog meat party dog testicles would be served.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Different strokes for different folks

Since the students in my English classes like to listen to music, I usually try to play a song in each class and center an activity around it. So far the success rate for bringing in music from my collection that they actually enjoy has been pretty low (low being around .1 - .2 percent, note the decimal points).

Artists that my students do not like:

Pink Martini
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
The Kinks
Bob Marley
The Temptations
Neil Young

Comments for these artists have ranged from, "This music is very bad" to "I think this music is horrible."

Artists most requested by my students:

Brittney Spears
Justin Timberlake
Lincoln Park

This has been one of the most difficult aspects of my job.