It was summer 2010 and I was having a blast hot and humid day at Hanoi, Vietnam, having a shopping walk with the other participants of DENSO Youth for Earth Action 2010. We had tiresome bargaining and shopping for Vietnamese merchandise. Thanks to Diem and Lind, my Vietnamese friends who were really nice, helpful, and extra energetic (in terms of voice and moves) escorting the other 18 participants from one stall to another. It’s a typical Asian shopping when high tone of voices involved and strategic bargaining skills thrown to avoid being ripped off; it is own surviving skills.
After we were done with shopping, Diem and Lind took us to try local Vietnamese fruit punch and as the weather was so scortchy hot, we all seemed agree.
In Vietnam, people are eating by the street and sitting on super low-height bench, being communal with the other benches surrounding a super low-height table, in the shape of a square and made of plastic or wood, which make us sit like squatting. We do have such seat in Indonesia too, but only used for hand washing the clothes in laundry room. Diem said that the Vietnamese ate this way so that people could talk closely and getting close to each other. Hmmm…make sense; squatting seat does make us equally low height and relatively close skin to skin.
As we waited for the fruit punch, I decided to sit on one of those benches before suddenly a young lady, the owner of the fruit punch kiosk, came over me and yelling on a high tone (of course in Vietnamese, and i had no idea what she meant). I had no clue, wondering why.
A minute later Diem came and said “Hey Riska, don’t sit on the table. You just sat on the table”….
I definitely know that sitting on the table is inappropriate (esp.for Asian culture), but the issue was, how I supposed to know if that heck low-height table was a table when it had almost the same low-height with the benches, even same square shape :p Diem said there was a bit difference on the height, just a bit…ok significant (take a look below):
- Vietnamese fresh spring rolls ( summer rolls / salad rolls / goi cuon) (inieu.wordpress.com)
- Chance to learn all about Vietnamese ingredients (vietnamgourmetour.wordpress.com)