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Topic Today: Greens. It seems that lunch and supper in Viet Nam always includes meat, fish/seafood, rice, and veggies. Meat can be chicken, duck, pork, or beef (sometime all four), seafood can be shrimp, cuttlefish, squid, octopus, or oysters, fish will be fish (too many types of fish to list), rice will always be white sticky rice - even if there is also fried rice, and veggies can be things like steamed cucumbers, broccoli, squash, cauliflower, carrots, beans, and greens. Regards the latter.. if it is green and leafy, and if it grows somewhere in Viet Nam, it is likely to show up at the table in some form or another. I can't begin to tell you what the names of the greens are, but they can be spinach-like, chard-like, collard-like, lettuce-like, or celery-like. Greens can be served alone, in a broth, combined raw on a plate, rolled up in a "spring roll",chopped up and added to a meatball made out of pork or beef, or mixed amongst all kinds of meats, fish, or veggies. They can be boiled, steamed, fried, or raw. They can be seasoned or "natural". They can be chopped into small pieces or left long and stringy...I mean 12 " long and stringy. Interestingly, you rarely find a salad made out of greens. In addition, banana leaves and grape leaves are used in cooking. You don't eat the banana leaves, but you do eat the grape leaves. The flavor of greens can be sweet, bitter, semi-sweet, semi-bitter, earthy, woody, or...well, "leafy" - if that makes sense. To date, I have not found a single green that I don't like. In fact, I have yet to find any food in Viet Nam that I don't like. And let me tell ya...I've tried a whole bunch of different foods.

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