By Wayne Chan, AsAmNews Humorist
Sushi without the rice? Dumplings without a wrapper? Noodle soup without the noodle?
This has been my latest conundrum.
How do you maintain a low-carb diet when you love Asian food?
Sure, when you eat at home it’s manageable. I can cook fish. I can make vegetables. But when you go out? It’s not as easy.
Last week, after working up a sweat playing tennis, a few of my tennis buddies decided to go out for Pho noodles. Knowing what I was getting into at a Vietnamese Pho establishment, I knew that I was in for some tough choices.
Going to a Pho restaurant when you’re on a low-carb diet is like going to a pizza place when you’re allergic to cheese. It’s a nearly impossible task.
The egg rolls are a no-go. The wrapper has carbs and so do the vermicelli noodles inside it. I could go for the grilled lemongrass pork chops…but it’s sitting on a bed of rice.
Well, why can’t you just eat the pork chops and ignore the rice? Ignore the rice? BECAUSE I LOVE THE RICE! THAT’S THE PROBLEM!
I admit it. I have no self-control. If it’s a carb and it’s on my plate, that plate will be clean when I leave the table. I would love to be able to virtually signal that it would be wasteful not to eat the rice when so many people are hungry all over the world. Honestly, though, it’s not like if I were to leave the rice on my plate that some logistics company is going to pack it up and rush it over to Bangladesh or something.
So what did I end up eating? I ordered a bowl of pho noodle soup without the pho. It was a pho-less pho noodle soup. The waitress looked at me for an uncomfortably long moment as if to truly contemplate what I wanted to order.
It reminds me of the time I asked a waiter in a Chinese restaurant not to add any MSG to a particular dish. For some people, eating a dish with MSG in it leaves them with a headache or a sore back. I asked him not to put any MSG in the dish and double-confirmed it with him, and he assured me they wouldn’t.
After the dish arrived and we started enjoying it, a familiar twinge on the back of my neck immediately started.
I asked the waiter, “I thought we asked you not to put any MSG in this dish?!?” He said, “We added very little! We have to give it some flavor!”.
So, you might ask, “How was the pho-less pho noodle soup?” Good question.
To be honest, it was still very good! It would have been a lot better if it actually had pho in it, but what can I say, it was hot, and tasty, and I still really enjoyed it.
After eating it, I did get a little twinge in the back of my neck, but come on! You think I’m going to ask them not to put pho in the pho AND ask them to remove any flavor from it too?
I’m going to a pancake house tomorrow. Wish me luck.
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