Everyone has a different favorite comfort food. I grew up in the Bay Area, so the majority of my favorite comfort foods are from either Mexican or Asian cuisine- when I’m sick I need miso soup, when I’m starving there is nothing I want more than carnitas, and when I’m hungover the only meal that really does it for me is pho. And I finally found a decent pho place in Yeongtong!
Mekong Thai is a Thai and Vietnamese restaurant on the second floor of an unassuming building in my neighborhood. It bills itself as “health food”, which caused me to raise an eyebrow. I have never before thought of pad thai or beef pho as “healthy”.
But my mind was quickly changed.
I ordered the overpriced beef pho and poured in a ton of hoisin sauce and what I thought was Sriracha. It was not the spicy Sriracha I am used to, rather it was some kind of Korean-imitation fire sauce that immediately brought tears to my eyes and beads of sweat to my brow. I suddenly understood the spiritually cleansing power of spiciness in a way I never had before. The toxins of a hundred cigarette-and-alcohol fueled nights were running down my forehead, out of my nose, from my eyes. This was better than hot yoga, better than a run in the snow.
My transgressions were burned away by Korean-imitation fire sauce and rice noodles in a mercifully empty Thai place in the dead of winter.
And that’s my kind of comfort food.