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.

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 …

You Happy, Me Happy, Buddha Happy

A real, down-to–earth, quasi honest South-East Asian market. This is fair dunkum tourist shopping.

Here, the huge smiles take the sting out of being stung. Who cares if you pay a bit extra? It’s still cheap compared to back home – and good natured haggling can be a lot of fun.

On reaching a price, I tell them: “You happy, Me happy, Buddha happy!” And I slip them a generous tip anyway …

(At Cho Xóm Mói Market, Nha Trang, Vietnam)