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4 Catt. 3: In re Sâuçá

2011 December 21
by JEREMY, C.J.

JEREMY, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Cart. CATTLEYA, J., delivered a separate concurrence.

We granted cartiorari to Sâuçá under Rule of Procedure 2-4(a), according to the petition of Anonymous, on the question of its pork bánh mì.

Besides the aforementioned petition for cartiorari, what drew me to this “mobile gastronomic enterprise” initially were the copious and gratuitous diacritics which grace its moniker. I am particularly fond of diacritics, especially of the kind intended only for gratuitous effect, and so I had high hopes for Sâuçá.

Sâuçá

I also particularly like the ethos behind the enterprise: “Experience street food on a new level, inspired by snack vendors in India, railroad station vendors in Europe and the mobile taquierias [sic] of South America . . . .” This description seemed to hold great promise. It seemed to adopt our own Eat Wonky test, which finds that the best truck food is true street food, which we have defined as of “the kind[] . . . that can be cooked in front of you and [is] meant to be eaten with your hands, without forks, while standing up.” In re Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5 (2011). Unfortunately, this ethos also tends toward the usual result of fusion cuisine: “confusion.” See In re TaKorean, 1 Catt. 4 (2011). Indeed, Sâuça’s flavors were, I’m afraid, confused.

Sâuçá describes its pork bánh mì as follows: “Props to the Vietnamese street vendor—mouth-watering flavors of ginger, soy and chili with tender pork, pickled veggies and our Peanut and Thai Coconut sauces.” Given the proliferation of bánh mì about the metropolitan area, I was eager to try Sâuçá’s rendition.

First off, we can discard the “pickled veggies.” While there were pickled vegetables, the members of this Cart were unable to taste them. We will therefore limit our discussion to two elements: (1) the pork itself, and (2) the wrap which served as its vehicle. I will consider the latter first, and the former last.

Wrap. Once more, we find a fusion establishment confusing the dishes which comprise its repertoire. Cf. TaKorean, 1 Catt. 4 (where a raw-cabbage slaw was termed kimchi-style). Bánh mì requires a sort of baguette. In fact, one of my clerks informs me that the term “bánh mì” in Vietnamese has come to refer specifically to this type of bread. But Sâuçá’s bánh mì’s grain-based envelope is not in the least baguette-like. It is, instead, a Greek pita or Turkish pide, i.e., a somewhat chewy flatbread. A flatbread, no matter its chewiness, is not a baguette, no matter how much one wants it to be. Cf. LEWIS CARROLL, ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND 124 (1897) (“‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean –neither more nor less.'”). Thus the dish is, in fact, not bánh mì at all.

Pork. The pork was without significant texture. It had been pulled and pulled such that it no longer resembled pork at all. It was, instead, a gloopy pork-based sauce wedged inside a pita. “Tender,” as Sâuça terms it, is a euphemism. This gloopy pork-based sauce was terribly sweet. I suppose the sweetness derived from the “mouth-watering flavors of ginger, soy and chili.” It tasted, instead, of a mix of hoisin and tamarind. While I enjoy both hoisin and tamarind, this dish was a one-note samba. All one tasted was sweet, and a rather off-putting sweetness at that.

Pork Bánh Mì

Once more, we find only confusion in fusion. We are greeted again by the failings we first noted in TaKorean: a mediocre truck hiding behind hype, flashy graphics, and a laundry list of seemingly exotic dishes that only indirectly resemble their namesakes. See TaKorean, 1 Catt. 4. Cf. In re El Floridano, 2 Catt. 2 (2011). For these reasons, this case is

REMANDED to Sâuçá for revision.

CATTLEYA, J., concurring.

I concur with the Cart’s decision. I write to note three things. First, Sâuçá’s pork bánh mì presented the second case in this Cart’s history where the Justices did not finish the food before it. See In re CapMac, 1 Catt. 1 (2011). Although I could have eaten the whole thing had I been hungry enough and had I felt guilty enough for shelling out $8, I was neither sufficiently hungry nor guilty. As a result, half of the sandwich found its last resting place in a trash can. Second, once again, I would like to stress to my father, if he’s reading this, that “the consumption of pork occurred for the highest purposes of a full and fair adjudication.” See In re El Floridano, 2 Catt. 2 (2011) (Cattleya, J., concurring). Finally, for a second time, the Chief Justice mentions his law clerks. See In re Seoul Food, 3 Catt. 2 (2011). It appears that his clerks do more than polish silverware and fold swan napkins. At the very least, they conduct research for the Chief Justice. Do they draft his opinions, too? I note for the reader that I do not have any clerks, and I research and write my own opinions. Enterprising individuals interested in a clerkship may send applications to my chambers.

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