Thursday, November 01, 2007

The mam tom bellyache

Foreigners often retch at the sight or thought of mam tom (fermented shrimp paste) and while ye hardy-eaters and locals might titter at others timidity before wolfing down some mam tom on top of your tofu or cha ca, it appears that the infamous purple substance is the cause of an outbreak of the runs. Really, really bad runs according to this article.

A few dozen patients in the capital city and other northern provinces have been hospitalised with identical symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting, and water exhaustion and up to 90 per cent of these people ate raw food, such as -- we all need a scapegoat in times of trouble -- mam tom (shrimp paste)!

According to the article, the local authorities have even banned the use of shrimp paste at restaurants -- I'd like to see if that's actually being followed -- and people are being warned off other raw goodies such as those pork rolls (nem chua) you get at bia hoi.

Banning mam tom and nem chua... well I never.

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