Wood smoke, big pot boiling meat, cool sea breeze: stroll down a narrow hem (laneway) off the busy main road, and discover an open enclave where the locals live, laugh and gather to eat as a community. Hidden in the heart of tourism, Back Beach Vung Tau, Vietnam
Sea Mantis Shrimp if it’s still kicking, it’s fresh
Mantis shrimp/sea mantis are a popular Vietnamese seafood.
Locals call them tôm tít.
There’s not a lot of meat in them but they are a cheap-ish treat, and usually barbecued, steamed, or pan fried in coconut oil.
I don’t recomment the fried version as I find the oil too sweet, and extracting the meat is a hot, messy, oily affair.
But don’t let me stop you – give them a crack …
An oyster’s beauty is more than shell deep
Sometimes the words can be more appetising than the pics. I don’t fake my food pics, what you see is what I eat 😁.
Here are 12 scallops and four huge oysters, all barbecued on the shell.
I like mine with a (visually somewhat unattractive) dollop of sweet, home-made mayo/sauce; others prefer savory/chilli condiments.
This has almost become my staple dinner in Vung Tau, Vietnam, thanks to my hotel’s street seafood barbecue.
USD6.90/AUD10. Not bad for “tourist prices”, eh!
Always remember: “Never judge a scallop by its shell.” 🤠
Choice: In with the new while keeping the old
A view to the future: Ibis will be a perfect fit for the foreshore at Vung Tau, Vietnam.
The popular weekend escape for Ho Chi Minh City’s populace, Vung Tau is balancing the accomm options with new, proportionate hi-rises while keeping the multitude of traditional nhà nghì “motel” guesthouses. Choice.
This “Ibis Suites” Hotel on the “back beach” is having the finishing touches and will soon open. (The security guard came over and went crook at me for taking this pic – all the while he was smiling, as they do. Haha.)
Vung Tau is so do-able…
Easy to Digest
Growing up, my brother and I often sought refuge in Readers’ Digest books.
I’ve found a hard cover classic here – add tropical weather and a big, frosty glass of freshly squeezed watermelon … who’s in a hurry to go back to the political morass of Australia? 🤠
– Vung Tau, Vietnam
It’s all about the salad. And the pork. And the rice …
You don’t like eating vegies? Then come to South-East Asia: the salads are so good, sometimes I could treat the meat as the garnish. Not this time – I last recall eating pork this tender in Argentina. Oh, and at the Sofitel Wanda Hotel, Beijing. This lunch is charsui Hoi An pork with firewood cooked rice. (I don’t know what firewood does to steamed rice, but the menu says it’s “traditional”. It’s tasty.) USD$1.95, Câm An (a little, street corner eatery known for chicken), Vung Tau, Vietnam
Crumbs! I forgot to save you one …
These golden balls are mashed potato, cheese, onion and bacon, crumbed and deep fried.
Made by the cook, of course.
I did mean to save you one … but I forgot.
“Khoai tây tán chiên voí phô mai”, in Vietnamese.
USD4.70, Belly’s Watering Hole (popular Aussie bar/eatery), Vung Tau, Vietnam
Dogs love a weekend at the beach
He loves the Vung Tau beach, he’s been for a swim, he’s had his shower and shampoo, now for the long ride home with Mum and Dad back to Ho Chi Minh City …
Grass jelly in your belly
Black Grass Jelly: Suong Sao, also called Chinese Mesona, it’s from a type of mint plant.
Add sugar and ice, and Vietnamese love it.
Yes, I gave it a go. I found it odourless and tasteless – not a hint of mint – but really no diffrent to the jelly that Aussies eat as kids, minus the artificial coloring and flavoring.
This herb plant is probably full of healthy goodness…
A 24-carat lunch for $US3.40
Carrots add character: this colorful combo is fried egg, fried rice, salad and a chicken leg with a slightly spicy salsa of tomato, onion and carrot cubes.
It’s served in a “hot pot”, I presume for looks, as it’s all fried in the wok (except for the salad, derrr) at the restaurant”s streetfront kitchen.
Big serve, big taste, big value at USD3.40. I’ll be back again …