Hanoi - Everyday, 11.30am: The banks are shut, computers are off, offices locked, building sites silent, hands washed and lunch is ready.
It's all here: the green leaf of a nation, water spinach (rau muong) sauteed in garlic and soy, slow-cooked caramelised pork, sweet with sugar and fish sauce, chunks of meat-cake (gio), peanuts, the dipping sauce and the salty soup.
There's one vital component missing. The meal cannot begin. If this stuff doesn't arrive momentarily, there can be anarchy. Well, at the very least, frayed tempers and shouting. Admissions have been uttered to me, by some locals, to the effect that if they don't get their fill of this stuff for a few days, they feel physically sick, that something's not quite right inside.
For God's sake, waiter, bring the bloody rice, will ya!