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Monday, June 23

Vietnamese pigeon

starter: sweet potato soup

 Sunset party on the liner deck: fried spring roll and Vietnamese wine

Oh to travel! And to eat. Somehow I neglected saying anything about what I ate in Vietnam last week. Food on board Glory Cruise was not far in taste with what I am used to. Thailand and Vietnam are neighbors after all.

Our very first meal preceded the food adventure we did that evening. We joined locals on sidewalk mini stools in the Old Quarter as we explored the menu. I had beef noodles which was yummy. But my friend was brave. She ordered fried pigeon which was served with, and I quote her, "head, beak and feet intact."

 crazy girlfriends

The server, after asking where we are from, was friendly, "our president was in the Philippines last week." And to that one of us replied, "Indeed. Talking partnership, eh?" "China," he smiled and took our order.

I observed my friend eating like a pro and wondered if her appetite had anything to do with how she can stitch a lacerated forehead or extract a cyst at work (girl's a doc). She encouraged me to try and I only released a frustrated croak, "fly away! skyline pigeon fly..."  I'd rather stick to art museums.

But I have no problem trying anything else. Here's a list of  13 Vietnamese dishes that you may want to try if you haven't already.  I have tasted nos. 1-6, 8 and 10, and I would love to eat them again, except number 10. My faves are nos. 1-3.

1.  Pho beef noodles in salty broth with herbs

2.  Chao Tom grilled shrimp in sugarcane stick

3.  Goi Cuon (spring rolls) pork, prawn, vegetables, rice vermicelli wrapped in rice paper

4.  Rau muong stir fried river weed (morning glory) seasoned with garlic

5.  Bahn koht dainty, little pancakes made of coconut milk, shrimp, mung beans and spring onions with dried shrimp flakes as topping

6.  Nom hoa chuoi  banana flowers, green papaya, carrots, cilantro and chicken with peanuts and salty fish sauce dressing

7.  Bo la lot grilled ground beef wrapped in betel leaf 

8.  Ca tim kho to diced and sauteed eggplant with tomatoes, soy sauce, sugar and minced meat

9.  Xoi glutinous rice mixed with chicken or pork and preserved eggs topped with dried shallots 

10. Ga nuong barbecued honey marinated chicken legs, wings and feet

11. Com chay (vegetarian) rice crispies with mock meat like fake rubbery snails

12. Banh mi baguette filled with cheese, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, sausage, fried egg, fresh cilantro and chili sauce

13. Dau phu sot ca chua (tofu in tomato sauce) fried soy in fresh tomato and spring onion coating, seasoned with fresh herbs

Monday, June 16

To travel is to eat

A certain Michelle Shapiro says that (title) in a poster on Pinterest and Beach House Turks and Caicos commented: 
Make sure while you are traveling you are eating.  Not only to survive, but to explore the culture. They [sic] way people eat and the different types of foods and spices can explain a lot about a culture, with no words at all you can be inspired by so many different things associated with eating alone.
I was in Vietnam recently. And explore Vietnamese food I did. The photo is taken from one of those meals during our Halong Bay cruise.

A Vietnamese blogger who lives in Australia says that "up until 2006-2007, Viet cookbooks were so few and hard to understand. I guess before Asian cuisines become popular in the western world, describing native Vietnamese ingredients was not easy. Now, things have changed for the better! There are more ingredients available, and some excellent cookbooks on Vietnamese cuisine have been published."

This is a list of Vietnamese Cookbooks:

1. The Little Saigon Cookbook by Ann Le (reviews)
2. Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan (reviews)
3. Vietnamese Food by Bobby Chinn (reviews)
4. Authentic Recipes from Vietnam by Trieu Choi & Marcel Isaak (reviews)
5. My Vietnamese Kitchen by Uyen Luu (reviews)
6. The Food of Vietnam by Luke Nguyen (reviews)
7. Recipes from a Vietnamese Kitchen by Ghillie Basan (reviews)
8. The Vietnamese Market Cookbook by Van Tran (reviews)
9. Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen (reviews)
10. Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table by Mai Pham (reviews)
11. The Songs of Sapa by Luke Nguyen (reviews)
12. Secrets of the Red Lantern by Pauline Nguyen (reviews)
13. Wild, Wild East: recipes and stories of Vietnam by Bobby Chinn & Jason Lowe (reviews)

Thanks to our hosts: Favorite Things * Thursday 13Blue Monday

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