The Vietnamese Boob Check

Suddenly both her hands cupped my breasts and she stopped just short of squeezing them hard.

This has happened to me before during my travels through Vietnam. The very first time was when I was entering Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, one of the oldest and definitely most colorful markets in the country. I was more then surprised and wondered for a second if it was the customary greeting or just a quick way to make friends. As always I just laughed it off and then returned the squeeze, which was followed by a loud shriek. I had made a new friend.

Another Boob- Check ?

The second time I got the “boob-check” was short-lived but it was definitely a firm squeeze. It was like a bra fitting followed by a lot of laughter and Vietnamese words from her co-workers. I was left wondering a bit but shrugged it off and thought “when in Rome…”

I have become an avid biker and am always in awe of the constant beauty around me. But the bonus for me lies in finding these little pods of food production tucked away in alleys or little villages. I’ll find rice paper and noodle making places or have tofu squares created right in front of me with ancient simple tools, the list goes on and on.

I simply love it as it adds to my Food Tour and to my knowledge in a unique way.

So the other morning I found another one of these gems.

Biking by and inhaling the smell of fish I spotted about 50 women sitting on tiny stools placing small scraps of fish on cut-out moulds and pressing them down into oval-shaped paper-thin patties.

Of course my ‘I must know more radar’ came on and while yelling “does anyone speak english?” I walked straight towards a woman who seemed to be the ‘authority of the day ‘.

That is when it happened again – the BOOB-TEST!

Everyone laughed hysterically and loads of chatter followed. Undeterred by now and smiling, I continued my quest for someone who spoke English to explain those patties to me. So I walked by all the tables, took some photos and smiled at everyone until finally a very young girl asked the ubiquitous question “Where are you from?”

What a relief to be able to fire off my questions to satisfy my curiosity. So she explained to me that this product is called ” Mieng Ca Bo ” and that the fish pieces are scraped from the leftover fish skin and then moulded into flat pieces and placed on screens to sun dry for several hours. When dry they get scraped off the screen, packaged up and delivered to be BBQ-ed in various places for snack time.

She then informed me that the boob-check was just to find out whether I was a boy or a girl! Having never been the feminine type, I finally understood the importance of their squeeze-job.

Two mysteries solved in one day. I just love Vietnam!

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