The food in Vietnam is phenomenal. There is an abundance of flavour, variety, style, and personality to the dishes in Vietnam. Vietnam could very well be the cuisine capital of Asia.
When I moved to Vietnam, there were only two things I decided I didn't want to eat: 1) dog 2) cat. Anything else is fair game; no matter how much it might make me cringe.
I crossed the usual Vietnamese dishes off my list long ago, meals such as Pho (Vietnam's most famous dish - beef noodle soup or fried beef noodle), spring rolls (fried and fresh), Bun Cha (fresh noodle with meatballs), Cha Ca (fried fish with rice noodle), and other traditional dishes were all devoured early on in my arrival to Hanoi.
After that, I began experimenting with things that were different for me. I started to explore the culinary possibilities. There really is no limit to what you can try in Vietnam. One friend joked with me, "We are Vietnamese, we eat everything that moves, doesn't move, is dead, alive, beating, rotting, in a coma, poisonous, anything; we eat anything."
One thing that I always laughed about when talking food with my Vietnamese friends before I moved here, was pigeons. It is just very hard for me to relate to pigeon-eating. These birds are considered to be filthy, dirty, disgusting rats with wings in my country, and I wouldn't be caught dead eating one back home. Well, this certainly isn't home and I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Todo. I ate pigeon and I'm sure I will receive some looks of disgust from family and friends when I tell them but, don't worry, that was just the tip of the iceberg, there's more. I ate sparrow which just seems to small and innocent to eat. I ate locusts which weren't a problem after my insect binge in Thailand. I discovered banh my (bread) dishes and ate it with anything and everything imaginable. Back home, we have a saying, "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse." In Vietnam, they just eat the horse, and yes, now I have eaten that too.
|The heart comes out on a small plate. |
|The heart was dropped into a shot glass with snake blood and wine. |
|A snake dish. |
If all of that isn't enough to make a non-Vietnamese stomach turn, this next one might get you. I tried a dish, which many Vietnamese don't even know about. My friend described it to me as the tube, perhaps the urethra tube, of a pig's penis. In Vietnamese, it is called "dây" which means string. Whatever comes out on that plate, all I can tell you is that it looks like string, hence the name. I must admit, the taste was fine, but knowing WHAT I was eating made it impossible to go far. I ate enough to be able to say I've tried it but I don't think you will catch me trying it again. I had to drink large amounts of beer to wash it down as I could feel my mind telling my stomach to vomit.
Yes, there have been many firsts for me in the area of cuisine here in Vietnam. Man