Monday, October 19, 2009

Foods of Vietnam

Ok, so I have been in Vietnam for a few months now and I like to profess myself as a traveller that likes to immerse himself in the culture, foods included. I have compiled a list of 5 things I have already tried and 5 I pledge to try before I leave this country.

The 5 I have tried in no particular order;

1. Rotten shrimp sauce
This stuff is actually rotten and the Vietnamese love it. It stinks like vomit and tastes like shit.

2. Pigeon
To the French this is probably no biggie but this is the first time I have tried pigeon and it didn’t disappoint. You get the whole pigeon from head to toe (which isn’t much) and it doesn’t leave much to the imagination. They cut the pigeon into bits and serve on a plate with a dipping sauce of mainly salt and lemon. Delicious!

3. Buffalo
The buffalo was served with a plate of rice and the meat was shredded into small unskinned sausages wrapped in leaves. I am a fan of the buffalo.

4. Pigs ears
Pig’s ears are not a good idea unless of course you don’t mind cartridge. The unflavoured bits of the ear are wrapped in a Vietnamese spring roll with a few vegetables. You are given a dipping sauce but you can’t help but imagine the ear of the pig you are eating. The thought can make you heave and I was not to far away. It is not the flavour but the crunchy, chewy texture that gives this option the big thumbs down.

5. Cow tongue
This was served on a street corner where there was no English whatsoever. While playing the pointing game, trying to determine where on the body the meat came from, the positive response came when pointing to the tongue. It was fine, a bit bland if anything and I would have no problems with a repeat serve.

The 5 to try are a bit more daring than the above list and I hear you say, harden up and get in there. I hope I can report back to you soon, stomach intact.

1. Dog
Dog is eaten throughout Vietnam, especially at the end of the lunar month. I have a lunch date booked with our landlord so will report back soon.

2. Duck embryo
You can get the duck embryo readily in Vietnam, metres from our house in fact, but I have not had the guts to have a taste yet. It is apparently a favourite for breakfast. I will stick with my cornflakes.

3. Pigs Uterus
Not looking forward to this one for obvious reasons.

4. Dorian
Dorian is a local fruit that smells like stale vomit. You know that Dorian is around from the smell before you see the fruit.

5. Snake
There is a village where you can go and eat cobra. They catch the snake, kill it in front of you by cutting out its heart, and then proceed to cook a number of dishes. You drink the bile with vodka and shot the snakes blood. One person, usually the oldest male has the privilege of swallowing the heart. Yum!

And after some time:



Snails, Goats blood and pigeon embryo


Duck Embryo

Weasel Coffee


  1. I'm Vietnamese. :) the chicken/duck embryo isn't too bad. you only eat the "chick" part - which chicken or baby duck. add some salt and pepper - delish. dorian or durian - smells like SH!T but a lot of people like it after they try it and get "used" to the smell (i never have.)

    as for eating dog and pig uterus - eeks! wow.

  2. Wow, that is amazingly disgusting! But seriously, please, please, please don't eat dog! That would break my dog loving heart :(

  3. Thank you Amy for the info! :) we are willing to try a few things, and please forgive Dan for saying the rotten shrimp sauce tastes like sh.t.. it's not a very nice thing to say! We just need to get used to the taste, that's all :)

  4. Hi Dan

    I have been silent for far too long. I am very impressed with your culinary and other exploits, and that truly is an amazing list - I think I would try the first 3 on the first list and the rest would have me heaving - that said this comes from a very priveleged first world view. I had to laugh - a girl at work went to paris recently and ordered what she thought was a caesar salad - it turned out the be a gesier salad ( gizzards). Needless to say she was unimpressed.

    Love your blog by the way - you are very funny! - Please dont let it go to your head though. love julia

  5. J'ai fait un post a partir du tien, intitulé "la gastronomie vietnamienne" sur mon blog :) BRAVO pour toutes ces expériences et surtout le debrief !

    Une question : "rotten" comme "pourri" ???

    La langue de boeuf et le pigeon on a effectivement ça en France aussi !