Coming straight out of the tank. Credit: Seth Anderson/Flickr

I could stare at Tank Noodle’s menu for an hour, but that might annoy my dinner companions. With numbered dishes stretching into the hundreds—spring rolls, bubble teas, and dessert yogurt included—the oft-packed destination in Uptown’s Vietnamese corridor requires a high level of patience. Though I’m privileged (depending on how you look at it) to immediately flip to the vegetarian section and peruse a more manageable list of dishes (I’ll love you forever, rice noodle curry tofu) I’ve dined with indecisive meat eaters who have been pushed to the verge of frazzled when tasked with choosing a dish. But upon a recent trip this past year with a friend and his Beijing-born wife—a carnivore with a discerning taste for “exotic” meat (see: liver, tongue, brains, etc)—Tank proved the perfect setting. She went right for the pork blood and pork legs congee and loved it so much that when the pair came back into town a few months later, she made a nudging demand to head back to Tank for blood. Panic struck the table when she couldn’t find a rice noodle soup with blood in it, but Tank was willing to accommodate. “I’m saving it till the end this time,” she told us as she weeded through the soup, painstakingly saving each gelatinous cube of cooked pork blood. When she finally reached the bottom and started downing the cubes in rapid succession, my plate of mere veggies was no match. She had reached hemoglobin-drunk bliss.