16.11.05

stp: Hoa Bien Mea Culpa

(an Open Letter to Hoa Bien)

Dear Hoa Bien:

I'm sorry. I got it all so very, very wrong.

When I drove to try and eat at you and I tried to turn into your parking lot and there was nothing but a crater, I was filled with rage. I wanted to lash out at the evil corporation that was building a giant, un-special brick building on the corner of Lexington and University. Why did their parking lot have to be where you used to be? Why did they, just for the fun of it, have to bulldoze your nice little ramshackle eatery where I had enjoyed many a fine vegetable spring roll, Pho soup, or make-it-yourself lettuce-wrap-dip-thing?

The other day I looked again at the place you used to be, the giant dirt pit that was your Vietnamese grave, and just as I was about to again curse the American hubis that has been levelling all things Vietnamese since we took over for the French, I saw the sign:

Coming Soon!
All New Hoa Bien Restaurant and Conference Center

You! It was you. It turns out you were pulling a Mai Village, and expanding madly, transforming into a restaurant empire, and becoming a destination for all. It turns out that when I turned to point a finger, I should have been pointing the finger at myself.

Because I'm still mad at you, Hoa Bien. I'm sure you're going to raise your prices by a factor of 2. I'm sure all kinds of annoying types are going to come in and have loud conversations while I'm trying to eat your food. I'm sure that guy in the yellow Hummer is going to park in your lot. Alas, my haven is no more.

With great sadness,
Wm

3 comments:

Ashli said...

Hello, I too am very disappointed for what has happened to our Hoa Bien; the only place where I could get the best Pho Ga in town. Just one question for you; Have you found a new place that has the same great Pho Soup? please let me know. My email address is ashlig47@hotmail.com. Thanks so much if you can help me.

Anonymous said...

Yes, how disappointing that the owners and staff of Hoa Bien who have worked their butts off to make wonderful food at insanely cheap prices should achieve the American Dream and....get a grip--that is not disappointing, that's wonderful.

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