Since I've been spending so much time lately trying to remember why I was trying to brush my teeth in the combat zone we affectionately called South Vietnam back in the last century, I thought it would be interesting to node some of the things Americans ate while waiting for their numbers to come up one way or the other in that sunny and interesting vacation spot.

Once I started thinking about it, I realized we put all sorts of things into our bodies and those of the enemy over there, so I've expanded the list accordingly. It is by no means comphrehensive. I have neglected to include, for example, the ration of shit that we consumed on a daily basis.

For your gustatory pleasure, the other shit we ate:

  • 33--Ba-Moi-Ba, Vietnamese beer, better known as "Tiger Piss."
  • Biere LaRue--Tiger Beer, one litre size.
  • Choke--Peanut Butter.
  • Cong Bo--Water Buffalo.
  • Cong Khi--monkey.
  • Cong Moui--mosquito.
  • C's--C-rations, C-rats, Charlie rats. Combat rations. Canned meals in a cardboard box, with cigarettes (usually Kools) for that relaxing after-dinner moment.
  • Dapsone--a pill we took. We thought it was for malaria. It was, in fact, taken to prevent leprosy. Since the 80's, it has been used to help prevent the growth of Pneumocystis carinii, a microorganism often found in the lungs of patients with advanced HIV disease.
  • Dope--in all its varieties.
  • Ham n motherfuckers--Ham and Lima Beans, the most reviled of all c-ration meals. Also known as "ham n chokers."
  • Koon Sa--the herb superb, in all its varieties.
  • la vay--beer.
  • M11--the Big Malaria Pill (Chloroquine). Taken every Monday, guaranteed to produce the shits.
  • Nook (Nouc)--water.
  • Nookdau--ice. This went well with booze.
  • Nuoc Mam--Disgusting fermented fish sauce, distilled by allowing the dead fish to...drip. Also known as "armpit sauce." I only developed a taste for this when I returned to the World and paid Big Money for it in fancy Indochinese restaurants in Beverly Hills.
  • Serette--a disposable needle containing morphine.
  • SOS--Shit on a Shingle, Creamed beef on toast. Just like you had in high school, but often served cold.

In my travels hither and yon, I had occasion to make the acquaintance of many mess halls where more...usual...fare was consumed, particularly Green Jello, in each of its infinitely subtle variations. It will also be revealed one day in detail why the best food in I Corps—especially on Wednesdays—could be found in Chu Lai, at the mess hall located next to Graves Registration.

You could enjoy a good meal there and not hardly mind the smell at all.

On Vietnam:


  1. I was a prisoner in a Mexican Whorehouse
  2. A long time gone
  3. How to brush your teeth in a combat zone
  4. Libber and I go to war
  5. Fate takes a piss
  6. Thanks For the Memory
  7. Back in the Shit
  8. LZ Waterloo
  9. Saturday Night, Numbah Ten


a long commute
Andy X Kirby True
a tale of two Woodstocks
Buy a Gun
Dawn at The Wall
Feat of Clay
Funeral Detail
I was a free man once, in Saigon
The Joint Chiefs of Staff
the shit we ate

Breaking Starch
Combat Infantryman Badge
David Dellinger
Dickey Chapelle
Firebase Mary Ann
Garry Owen
Gloria Emerson
Graves Registration
I Corps
Project 100,000
the 1st Cav
The Highest Traditions
Those Who Forget
Under the Southern Cross
Whither the Phoenix?

A Bright Shining Lie
Apocalypse Now Redux
Hearts and Minds
We Were Soldiers

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