Sa Voi is small take-out bahn mi/video store on Lafayette at Canal. They also sell an appetizing array of Vietnamese savory snacks, drinks and desserts.
Whenever and wherever I dine on bahn mi, I always ask for hot sauce and lot's of chili peppers. Frequently my request is not obeyed, either through a failure to communicate or because the bahn mi maker supposes I can't handle the heat. So I asked a Vietnamese friend to teach me how to say: "Please include lots of chili peppers".
I practiced a little, and then went to order. Of course, they had no idea what I was saying or for that matter what language I was speaking (accent and inflection are everything). But after I repeated my chili pepper incantation a few more times, one of the women behind the counter recognized what I was saying. She looked at the other woman, pointed to the chili peppers, and they both laughed. Home free, I thought. Nice, spicy bahn mi is on the way...
They wrapped up my meatlball-with-the-works bahn mi, warm and toasty in its wrapper, and off I trundled to the nearest park bench. As I tore into the first half of the sandwich I discovered, amazingly, a complete absence of chili peppers! What gives? It was still quite good, but lacking, if you know what I mean. Ready to storm back into the shop, I instead became resigned to just suffer through the other half, like a milqetoast. Alas, the other half of the sandwich was so stuffed with hot green chilis - maybe 12-15 of them - that even I, chili maniac, couldn't ingest them all. What's the lesson here? Not sure, but I'll happily try again.
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