Who doesn’t adore Vietnam’s bánh mì baguette? Light and crusty.
Time to “re-acclimatise” to Aussie food (fly home from Vung Tau tonight) so lunch is a good ol’ snag & egg in a roll. With tomato sauce.
After a month of mostly preservative-free Asian eating, Aussie food can give you a hard kick in the belly.
Read the ingredients label: we tend to consume the entire Periodic Table at every meal.
That’s the “price” of convenience food …
(This tastes good, btw)
The Vietnamese bánh mì baguette: light and crusty.
Dinner tonight. That’s 750 grams of Vietnam crayfish to crave.
I shook his hand (antenna) in the tank first, to make sure he was a fine specimen.
Now into the pot, then onto the barbie, and bon appetit.
1.2 mmillion dong (AUD$75), in Vung Tau. Same price in Nha Trang and DaNang.
If you think fresh seafood is still cheap in South-East Asia, you’re dreaming.
Demand from China has put paid to that. (You can see why the Qantas CEO prefers a planeful of Tassie live lobster, to economy passengers.)
Fresh, live crayfish in Vietnam. This is a beaut specimen, for dinner tonight. Demand from China is pushing up the price of fresh seafood across Asia
You’ve seen it a thousand times, on a dozen visits, probably nibbled it – but never really stopped and “experienced” it.
South-East Asian food is like that. You may reckon you’ve seen it all but no, there’s always a surprise.
Vietnamese call this grapefruit. It’s a type of pomelo, and it varies in taste, appearance and name, according the area where it’s grown.
This one might be nam roi or doan hung; its juice is sweet and with a lingering acidic after-taste.
It is bursting with “healthy”.
When have you eaten enough?
The sweetness lures you into yet another mouthful, while the hint of acid sharpness suggests otherwise: ahh, the absorbing contradictions, that is travel in South-East Asia.
Vietnamese grapefruit are a pomelo and vary in taste, texture and name, according to where that are grown.
Fast Food Wars: the smokey, heat of battle in Vung Tau, Vietnam.
Pitched on each side of the street, it’s Cóm 25k versus Cóm Tàm 25k.
Maccas v Hungry Jack’s? KFC v Red Rooster?
Both sell the grilled, ultra-thin chicken cutlet with egg, rice, vegie and a squirt of sweet chilli syrup.
Let’s call it a draw, and we’re all winners …
Vietnam devotes much effort into beautifying the beachside parks and gardens.
This is the “Back Beach”, in Vung Tau; the same for Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An – at destinations up and down the Vietnam coast.
Take time out in Vietnam’s beautiful and relaxing beachside parks and gardens
Vietnam soft shell shrimp (prawns).
Not to my liking but it keeps popping up, in Vung Tau, Nha Trang – across this fascinating country.
Steamed, grilled, sweet, fried. Not one to shy away from a challenge, by the end of this journey I will have acquired an appreciation, or, having given it my best shot, I shall withdraw with honour.
This night’s street-stall version is a big prawn, deep fried in peanut oil with a very tasty batter, and the prawn meat is firm and delicious.
A pity there’s a barrier of “crunchy” shell between the two.
Crunch, crunch, crunch …
Soft-shell prawns/shrimp are a culinary favourite in South-East Asia (and now world-wide) but that “crunchy” shell can be a challenge to even an adventurous diner.
Vietnam Lunch: the young bloke next to me was eating a plateful of these, with rice.
Being of daring spirit and with a yearn to learn, I had to try one too. Delicious!
Similar to a Cantonese ham sui gok, it is a light, hollow, doughy “puff” coated in baked rice “bubbles” (a la crispy rice crackers) and, I presume, pan fried.
These being hollow, you could have a lot of fun experimenting with various fillings such as paté or mince, or do vegetarian with diced tomatoes and onions; maybe a sweet version with raisins and citrus peel, and serve hot with vanilla bean ice-cream.
(I’ve impressed myself with these ideas. What am I doing, pretending to write? I should be pretending to “chef” …)
Crispy rice “puffs”: a delicious addition to lunch in Nha Trang, Vietnam
Vietnam lunch is a “one with the lot”.
A big queue was happening at this Nha Trang street food stall – building labourers, office workers, they were pulling up on their motor scooters; the family running the stall were working like clockwork, filling take-away containers and ladening plates.
They all seemed to be ordering rice with a bit of everything. So I did, too! Smart move.
The meal was pork done various ways, chicken, boiled/stewed pigeon eggs, vegetable, crunchy fried shrimp (yes, I crunched them – shell, head and all), and other bits and pieces.
Generously spoon on some SE Asian home-made sweet chilli syrup, and tuck in …
Lunch is a Vietnamese “one with the lot”
Traditional Vietnamese wedding near nha Trang: what an honour to be invited, by Dung to the wedding of one of her work staff.
They are so courteous and friendly.
Two fun & friendly hours of eating, speeches, eating, singing, eating, hand-shaking, eating, pics, eating …
(videos to come)
Beautiful bride & gregarious groom, with office workmates – and an Aussie ring-in.
Sneak in a smile, in between courses of delicious Vietnamese food
Guess whose camera has run out of space on the memory card?
Chà com tâm is a cold “pie” made with broken rice, cucumber and eggs – this version tastes also of mushrooms and salty fish sauce, adorned with red chillies.
It’s like quiche Lorraine … shall we call it “Quiche Nha Trang”?
On the topic of “broken rice”, one evening I chatted to an American in the Muster Bar in Vung Tau who was building a factory on the Mekong River, in partnership with a local, to export “broken rice”.
There’s big bickies to be made in the non-perfect rice grain trade …
Chà com tâm is a quiche-like Vietnamese dish made of “broken rice” (ie non-perfect grains) mashed with eggs, cucumber and other ingredients