Vietnam Food Diary (Vol.1): I’m 85% sure I ate dog…sad face.

Yesterday, in Dalat (the valley of eternal Springtime, it’s gorgeous!) we went to a cricket farm – the garden shed of a guy’s house. Then, lucky me got to try them. I was determined NOT to, but then my squeamish husband tried one straight away so I had no choice!

How to make Cricket Fries at home: Put in hot water (that’s what kills them) then wash them (apparently) and then lightly fried in oil until crisp.
They taste of very crispy chips. We dipped them in a sweet chili sauce which was quite pleasant. P.S doesn’t my face look massive in this photo!

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We were in Dalat for 3 days and here I was also able to try a famous street snack ‘Banh Xeo’ which is similar to a pancake or omelette.

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I had been told lots about it before I left home because they are at many of the street stalls and are really tasty. They cost about 30p each and are made as you stand there.
How to make them:
The ‘pancake’ is actually he same wrapper as you use when making a fresh spring roll – one that you dip in water to make bendy – however here, you just put in against the flame and add whisked egg on top (I guess this acts as a sort of liquid to loosen it) then add chopped spring onions, shrimps (that’s what is in the orange tub, pre-cooked). To finish add a drizzle or five of hot chili sauce and fold it over. I was handed mine inside some strips of scrap paper so my hands didn’t burn off.  These would make a great beer snack at a bbq if you fancied giving it a go.

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When we were in Ho Chi Minh City, I was needing something resembling chocolate and found these. They weren’t chocolate but they did have an educational benefit. Everyone’s a winner.

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Ho Chi Minh really surprised me as it had bakeries all over the place, sometimes next door to another. I thought I would do some cake research and this is what I found:

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One meal that really sticks in my mind was Pho Bo – Beef Noodle soup. I am really hoping that when I do a cookery class in Hoi An (next week) that this dish will be on the agenda. the flavours are musky and delicious, it’s a broth with so many layers of subtle spices – I just hope I can recreate it at home. Note: they have a lot more root vegetables in Vietnam than Cambodia, for instance carrots!

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Another meal that sticks in my mind was when I ordered boiled chicken and rice. I received a plate of chicken intestines and general ‘insides’ (it tasted OK, a bit like liver and sausage) and then a HUGE pot and inside was a whole chicken, as in, the head all the was down to its feet. The meat tasted good but there was enough food to feed 6-8 people! On another note, this is a rice field:

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Below were little snacks that were sold at a market – squishy egg treats that you dip in an onion vinaigrette.
To make them: mix rice flour with water and put in these clay pots and whilst they cook – you pour in whisked egg. They tasted OK, bit bland but I think you could really play around with some flavours – they would really work as a sweet treat – with maple syrup or vanilla, maybe with a sticky pecan glaze…? Then to finish the cooking evenly, they all get a cute little clay hat!
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We went to a place where they make silk, it was a big garage with machines operated by women. They take the silkworms and dip them in hot water (to kill them) then they spin the cocoons through the machines to make silk threads. I am putting this on my blog as after they do that, they eat the worms. Apparently, they taste like mashed potato. I didn’t try one…

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Lastly, the dog. In Ho Chi Minh, at one of the bakeries we had a sausage. It didn’t taste familiar, quite strong. Vietnam has some french in it’s language – and we though this label said ‘hot dog’. However, after we spoke to a local in Dalat, she mentioned that in Vietnam, they eat cats and dogs, it’s normal. I still have 15% hope that we didn’t eat dog, but who knows.

 

 

 

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