Food, Friends & Orgia in Vietnam!
The war in Vietnam pervaded everything. You couldn’t escape it. Each night, the primetime news ended with a morbid score that could have been a sporting event if it were not for solemn delivery of the newscaster. I spent many a lazy hour, safe in my California home, thumbing through the stunning photos of the war in Life Magazine – horrified by the graphic brutality, yet inspired that a few photographs, captured at the decisive moment, could make a difference… and did they! Several iconic photos, along with Walter Cronkite’s famous editorial, tipped the scales, changing public opinion and the course of the war before the draft board came knocking on my door.
Decades passed, yet I could not shake the impression that Vietnam was a brutal place of devout communists who would still resent the American people. I could not be more wrong. Maria and I had the good fortune to travel to Vietnam with the Pham family. The Pham’s are the founders of Red Boat Fish Sauce. It is, in our humble opinion, the best fish sauce on the market. They approach their craft as we approach making wine. They start with the best ingredients and handle them impeccably. Visiting their tank room was an enlightening experience.
We met wonderful, inspiring locals through the Pham’s who opened their doors, shared their food and beverages, laughed and told stories. We learned about the local crops and the amazing subtleties of different strains of rice. We ate home cooking, street food and fancy food. We played and we laughed some more before we sat down to share yet another meal. All the while, each taste filled us with ideas as to how our wines would work with the unique umami flavors of the region and how the common language of a leisurely meal and a glass of wine can bring people together.