Travelling Vietnam

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We’ve been out of action for the first part of 2011, and have obviously missed some major happenings in Brisbane whilst we’ve been away…our hearts go out to everyone affected by the flooding in good ol’ Brisvegas.
The first three weeks of our year thus far have been spent travelling around Vietnam, which was an amazing holiday. Vietnam is a truly beautiful country and an absolute must-see in our opinion.

Unfortunately our travelling means that I haven’t been able to update our blog for a while, but this blog entry is totally devoted to the amazing food we ate whilst on our travels.
Our travels took us from the northern part of Vietnam, visiting Hanoi and Halong Bay, through the central regions of Hue and Hoi An, and finally down to the swelteringly hot Saigon where we experienced probably the most scary looking food I’ve encountered!

I dont want to write an enormous post about our holiday, but will instead share a few photos of the food we enjoyed whilst away.  

Bun Cha:

Bun Cha is a dish typically eaten for lunch and is found in the Northern parts of Vietnam, being virtually non existent (we found) in the Southern areas. Parts of the dish are grilled sliced pork, or pork meatballs, vermicelli noodles and mixed lettuces and herbs. Theres also a bowl of nuoc mam which is the standard Vietnamese dipping sauce of fish sauce, sugar, water and lime juice. Dip everything into the sauce and enjoy!

Pho:

Many a bowl of pho bo (beef noodle soup) was eaten on our holiday. The vietnamese eat it for breakfast, but because I couldn’t really stomach it first thing in the morning, we ate it at every other time of the day! The soup base is a beef stock which is made with varying ingredients including coriander, cloves, ginger, onion and star anise. The bowl is presented to you with wide rice noodles, green onion and rare beef (or can be made with other meats like tripe and chicken). Throw in your own bean sprouts, chilli, coriander and basil and squeeze in some lime and you are ready to go!

Banh Xeo:

Banh xeo are pancakes made with a batter of rice flour, turmeric and coconut milk, within which are placed small prawns and pork slices and steamed bean sprouts, then they are fried until very crispy. The idea is to cut in half and roll in a rice paper sheet along with lettuce, herbs and occasionally fruits like green banana and starfruit. In the central regions, they wrap them in rice paper, however down south will wrap them in large mustard leaves. They are then dipped in nuoc mam.

Hoi An dishes; Fried Wontons and “White Rose” Dumplings

These dishes are found specifically in Hoi An, a wonderfully quaint UNESCO Heritage listed town. The wonton are made with crab meat and are topped with a tomato salsa. The dumplings are nutty and made with prawn meat and are supposed to look all bunched up like a rose. Both can be dipped into nuoc mam.

Special mention must go to some of the weird dishes on our trip, like the elephant ear fish found in the Mekong River and served up to us whilst we were on a boating day trip in the Mekong Delta. This is truly a scary creation however after it was expertly descaled and the meat placed in fresh rice paper rolls along with lettuce and sliced pineapple, was actually quite delicious!

Finally, I will leave you with a dish that L ordered whilst in Saigon, a hideous whole fried eel! He ate the whole thing surprisingly….

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