Weird foods in Vietnam
Vietnam is well-known for not only its natural wonders but also its strange but very delicious dishes. Here are the top weirdest dishes that tourists should try when coming to Vietnam……
1. Vole meat
Vole meat is white and considered to be more delicious than chicken or duck meat. However, the cook must prepare the food very thoroughly because otherwise diners will suffer from ilness.
There are several ways of processing vole meat such as steaming it with coconut milk and chili peppers; stir-frying it with lemongrass and chili or boiling it. However, the most popular method is to grill the meat. After being cleaned and marinated with salt, the mouse is sandwiched into the bamboo bar and grilled. Just before it becomes edible, lemon grass and honey are added to create a irresistible aroma. Although some foreign visitors are afraid, the food is safe when prepared properly and is very delicious.
This is a typical food which can be found in Tra Vinh, Hai Phong and Thai Binh, but Hai Duong is the best place to try the food.
Ragworm is a giant, hairy and colorful worm. Its appearance has scared some foreign visitors, leading to their refusal to try the food.
However, according to scientific evidence, ragworm is more nutritious than many other types of meat and is very good for your health. The worm can be prepared in a variety of ways, such as “nem rươi”, “rươi kho niêu đất”… but the best one is “chả rươi”.
Each piece of “chả rươi” is golden and crispy on the outside but soft and white inside.
3. Đuông dừa (Coconut larvae)
This is a very popular food in the Mekong Delta. Despite that, not everyone is courageous enough to try this specialty because of the worm’s appearance being soft, white, and that the most popular way to try the food iseating the larvae alive. It may look scary, but once visitors overcome this initial fear and try the dish, they will definitely not regret it. While eating a bowl of larvae crawling within the fish sauce, you will feel a greasy taste, similarly to egg yolk gradually dissolving in the mouth.
Some other ways to process the larvae includes grilling, frying with butter, or steaming with coconut water. The least scary one is perhaps grilled larvae. The worm is grilled until it turns golden in color and then wrapped with vegetables and eaten with sweet and sour sauce. The greasy taste and aroma of grilled worm harmonized with the sweetness and sourness of the sauce and raw vegetables is very pleasant.
In the South West of Vietnam, there are numerous delicious cuisines made from snakes. The most popular ones are snakes stewed with lemongrass and hot pot snake.
The first dish is made from tiger snake. Its head and organs are first removed, its body is then chopped into pieces of 7-8 cm long before being stir fried. Subsequently, it is stewed with fresh lemongrass, turnips, sliced ginger, sugar, dried peppers and garlic. The stewed snake tastes better than many other types of daily meats, and the aroma of snake mixed with lemongrass can satisfy the tastes of even the most picky eaters.
For the hot pot method , the snake is first cleansed, cut into long slices and stir fried with garlic. Then it is put in the pot of cold water and boiled. Next, papaya, lemongrass, cassava roots are added to the boiling pot for approximately 10 minutes. Seasoning powder, fish sauce, a little pepper are also important additions to the pot..
5. Trứng vịt lộn (Balut)
A balut is made from duck eggs during the period that the embryo is forming. Despite being a popular and nutritious snack in Vietnam, western tourists and those who have seen the balut for the first time are often frightened and not willing to try. The reason is probably because they see within the egg a nearly fully-developed duck with all of its parts and feathers. However, the food is really tasty and worth trying. It can be found in street vendors or small restaurants.
The steps to process the balut include boiling the eggs thoroughly, leaving it to cool down for 20 minutes, then removing the shell and eating the inside while it is still hot. The common spices are lemongrass, fresh ginger, sliced lemon and chili vinegar.
Each region has a different way to enjoy the dish. For example, in addition to the usual spices, Da Nang people often add fish sauce and papaya, whereasPhan Thiet people add carrots and radishes.
Durian is a popular fruit in southern Vietnam. It has a moist and sweet taste in the throat, but its smell is strong and unpleasant, and has a bit of a weird aftertaste. Because of this smell, durian is banned from taxis and public transportations in Southeast Asia. Conversely, many tourists love this smell and even become addicted to this fruit.
7. Thắng cố
The traditional H’mong food is made from a horse without excluding any of its parts. The preparation is quite simple with 12 traditional spices including cinnamon, lemongrass, ginger, and many other special spices of the upland people. In particular, “thắng cố” is the final spice. Meat and viscera of the horse are washed, boiled, seasoned with spices, then put into a saucepan containing bones and the above 12 spices have been boiled, and subsequently cooked for hours. When eaten, the visitors can add some chili, pepper or salt. A hot bowl of “thắng cố” in the coldness weather of mountainous area is quite an unique experience for any tourist.