by Jon Greenbaum
Tea agrees with my wiry ectomorph nervous system a lot better than coffee does. But my moderation in self destructive appetites allows me the occasional cup of joe. But that still leaves me as a tourist in caffeine culture. So maybe you all know the answer.
Why not Vietnamese coffee?
As late stage consumer capitalism sprouts coffee shops (both mass market and “upscale”) in a desperate attempt to commodify everything that isn’t nailed down, it seems to have missed an opportunity. Why not Vietnamese coffee? Cafes and coffee shops seem so damn comprehensive. There seems to be available every type of caffeine delivery system imaginable. Is Vietnamese coffee just too messy and slow?
Of course we have our American imperial adventurism to thank for all the excellent Vietnamese restaurants and grocery stores penetrating the Homeland. And interestingly enough, those of us that spend the most time opposing the military proboscis (why do we call it the Department of “Defense”?) actually log the most time consuming the unintended side benefits of imperial (and in the case of Vietnam, attempted) conquest. We’re the folks wearing Guatemalan print shirts and eating Pho.
So I’m happy to see the Afghanistani restaurants popping up around town and I hear that our city streets are now awash in startlingly effective heroin. Our crushing military presence in Central and South America in the 60′s and 70′s and 80′s helped bring back first pot and then cocaine (which explains the empty crack packets in the parking lot outside my office). Our side action in Cambodia and Laos led to a surge in heroin ala The French Connection. Take your pick. Dr. Strangelove brought home some treats.
Being just as programmed as the next guy to consume these imperial fruit (culinary, not narcotic), I have recently found myself drifting into the cuisine of the Middle East. Earlier this summer I made my own Ras el Hanout but last week when it ran out, I went online to buy some more. The next day I heard the spice mixture referenced on a cooking show on public radio. And off we go. If I were you I’d invest in some entrepreneurial importer of Turkish coffee pots. All signs point to a market on the verge of takeoff.Tags: Daniel Day Lewis, imperialism, vietnamese coffee