Vietnam Grows on You

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

Crunch Time: Tackling Vietnam Soft-Shell Prawns

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.

Crispy Rice ‘Puff’ is Good Stuff

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 ‘One With The Lot’

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 is a Feast of Fun

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?

Breaking Bread With Broken Rice: “Quiche Nha Trang”

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

A Quiet Time in Nha Trang’s Riverside

Simply a nice pic of the quiet, shady, placid streets in Nha Trang’s Riverside residential area.

Only a half-hour walk – but a far cry – from the hectic Beachside, constantly buzzing with a billion motorbikes, delivery vehicles and tourists.

It would be fair to think the Riverside area now is where the “smart money” is being invested …

A quiet, shady, placid street in the Riverside area of Nha Trang, on Vietnam’s popular coast

Coffee is Gold, in Vietnam

Nha Trang Riverside: Beautiful new mansions.

I’m guessing the owners might be coffee merchants?

In Vietnam today, coffee is “gold”; in the 19th Century Gold Rush, merchants selling supplies to the prospectors became the millionaires.

Here, start the day with a tin phin drip coffee, with ice and “sweet milk” …

Mid-Morning Munchies

Having the 10.30s. Between breakfast and the noon lunch/nap.

Perhaps South-East Asians know the benefits of keeping the tummy “topped up”.

I recall Tolkien referring to Hobbits enjoying “Elevenses”. And why not here in Nha Trang, Vietnam, when food like this is so simple, nutritious and delicious.

Street BBQ chicken with egg, rice and salad. 30k dong (less than AUD$2)

Throwing Out Shoes is a Big Deal for a Bloke

Goodbye to the Phu Quoc “Qrocs”.

They have served me so loyally, trekking through many a South-East Asian “wet” market, the Vietnam jungle between bars, over searing sands of beaches, in airports and on planes, and 2 years of Lockdown in St Kilda.

But the time has come to move on, so in the bin they go …

(Feel free to say something in Latin, at this point)

Tossing out well worn shoes …