When twilight deepens, the big saucepan of rice is brought to the fore and the contents divided into a number of little bowls, one for each member of the family. Other bowls contain broken-up fish, little pieces of roast pork, and one or two native vegetables.
Each person picks up from these common dishes with his chopsticks a little morsel here and there, and, after first dipping it into the nuoc-mam, without which no Annamese meal is complete, flavours his own little bowl to his liking.
The Annamese never eat with their fingers ; if they have no chopsticks at hand any slender pieces of wood picked up on the ground will do instead. They never drink while eating, but wait till the meal is finished.
Vietnam 100 years ago: table manners
Vietnam 100 years ago: chewing the betel-nut
Vietnam 100 years ago: how to become a mandarin
Vietnam 100 years ago: religion and superstitions
Vietnam 100 years ago: worshiping ancestors
Text: Gabrielle Vassal
On & off duty in Annam, London 1910
Photo: old photo from internet
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