Last night I overheard a diner in a Vietnamese restaurant ask his waitress for a side order of plum sauce.
His waitress arched an eyebrow. “Excuse me?” she said with . . . well, aplomb.
Both of the women sitting in the booth immediately behind the guy ungraciously guffawed at his gastronomic gaffe.
But even though he was clearly not Geography Joe, I got where the guy was coming from: the same place that makes me want to order a side of plum sauce every time I eat out anywhere. Vietnamese food. Mexican food. A popsicle truck.
I don’t know what I wouldn’t eat if it were dipped in plum sauce. Especially if no one was looking.
Which raises the question: Why can’t you get plum sauce anywhere outside of a Chinese restaurant? Even inside a Chinese restaurant, the only way to get them to bring you anywhere near enough plum sauce is to promise to stop stealing it off other people’s tables.
But take it from me: people who catch you snaking the plastic micro-cup of plum sauce off their table will bite your wrist so hard they won’t release until you’ve broken multiple plates over their head.
One time I came away with a guy’s whole upper denture embedded in my arm.
But whatever. I got his plum sauce. Totally worth the skin graft.
Off to shop at Trader Joe’s—where they do not sell plum sauce.
Why? Because even Joe doesn’t have anything that anyone would ever trade for theirs.