The real thing

Connla Stokes

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Photograph: Morgan Ommer

I can’t say what makes us fall in love with Vietnamese food. That one life-affirming, nourishing bowl of pho in particular, or even just a chilled, ripe mango, plucked fresh from a fridge after a night’s carousing. It drugs you. That “everything” — colours, flavours, textures, sounds, situations, is so intense. In spite of the Hanoi humidity, or scorching Saigon sun, you don’t care your shirt is straightaway a sodden rag because you’re slurping down what might be the greatest noodle soup of its kind in the universe, or devouring a table- load of tasty morsels, all washed down with whatever local brew is to hand.

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