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Vietnam Victuals


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3 hours ago, KennethT said:

I've had them, along with fried crickets and meal worms as a snack in Thailand. They're actually quite tasty, but with a bit of a bitter aftertaste... not bad as a beer snack though.

 

Yes, I've eaten the same, both in Thailand and China. Never saw them in a supermarket before, though.

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I'll never visit Vietnam, but I don't need to. I just read about your visit. What a superb lesson in sharing and describing an experience. I'm in awe of your descriptive process of a visit to another country. Thank you for this. D

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Near the supermarket I showed above was a market, from which some of my some of the market pictures came. Between the market and the main road was a motorcycle park. Everyone in Vietnam has a motorcycle. It's the law, I think. But between the market and the motorcycle park was this place.

 

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presided over by this woman

 

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She handed me her menu.

 

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I chose the Mì Quảng, as you do.

 

I sat for a few minutes trying to work out what all the condiments were and why the chopsticks were green, while the boss carefully kept two eyes open for any approaching potential customers and her third eye noted everything her young staff were doing.

 

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After a very short wait this arrived.

 

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On the left is the mì quảng, which is noodles with chicken and prawns. bean sprouts and rice cakes. There was a quail egg in there,  too. And it came with the inevitable salad.

 

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It was great. The chicken was deeply flavoured and tender. The shrimp were done to perfection, the noodles had the right amount of bite. The rice cakes added texture and the quail egg was perfectly soft boiled.

 

Vietnam does these simple road side snacks/mini-meals so well.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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inspired by your lovely food photos, I had Vietnamese food (Bun with grilled chicken) for lunch today. Considerably more expensive ($12) than what you paid!

I love seeing the people in the photos, gives you a real flavor of the "ambiance".

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Another day, another lunch. In a small hole-in-the-wall place near my hotel.

 

Bún mọc - Vermicelli Noodles, here with various meatballs.

 

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Mint and basil

 

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Lime for squeezing into your noodle broth

 

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The menu

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8 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Lime for squeezing into your noodle broth

 Of all the things I notice! There are seeds in the limes. There are no seeds in the limes available to me!

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25 minutes ago, Anna N said:

 Of all the things I notice! There are seeds in the limes. There are no seeds in the limes available to me!

 

Thank goodness there are seeds. My beautiful lime tree on my balcony has grown from a seed from a lime I bought in Hanoi several years ago. Unfortunately, it has never fruited. Its nearest potential mate is hundred of miles away.

 

I don't recall ever seeing seedless limes.

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These are different limes than we commonly see in N. America.  The limes in Asia are like Key Limes or true limes - they are small, have seeds, and have a slightly different flavor than the Bearss Seedless Lime (which is what is typical in N. America).  In fact, the Bearss is not a true lime at all, but a cross between a true lime and a lemon.  The reason behind the creation of the Bearss lime was to reduce labor costs - using true limes are more costly since they have seeds that need to be strained, and they are smaller so you need to squeeze more of them to get the same amount of juice.  Personally, I prefer the small, true limes - I like their flavor better, and when I use them to make SE Asian dishes, they taste more like what I've had during my travels.  Unfortunately, they're really expensive here in NYC when I can get them... like $3.50 to $5 per pound!

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37 minutes ago, KennethT said:

These are different limes than we commonly see in N. America.  The limes in Asia are like Key Limes or true limes - they are small, have seeds, and have a slightly different flavor than the Bearss Seedless Lime (which is what is typical in N. America).  In fact, the Bearss is not a true lime at all, but a cross between a true lime and a lemon.  The reason behind the creation of the Bearss lime was to reduce labor costs - using true limes are more costly since they have seeds that need to be strained, and they are smaller so you need to squeeze more of them to get the same amount of juice.  Personally, I prefer the small, true limes - I like their flavor better, and when I use them to make SE Asian dishes, they taste more like what I've had during my travels.  Unfortunately, they're really expensive here in NYC when I can get them... like $3.50 to $5 per pound!

 

Yes, Vietnamese limes are tiny - quail egg size or smaller. There are some in one of my market photos..

Never had a problem squeezing them - I just squeeze them with one hand into the other and use my fingers as a sieve. Might miss one or two, but no big deal to swallow a seed.

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One day,  I took a wrong turning and stumbled into this fantasy world. Annam Gourmet Market.

 

This is a very international deli and café.  I was almost in tears looking around. I couldn't possibly carry back all the shop, even if the customs people and my bank manager let me! The cheese! The charcuterie! The olives! The fish! The everything!

 

I've never seen anything like this in China, even in Shanghai or Beijing.

 

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and of  course

 

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Thinking about it now, I'm glad there no such place like that here in Liuzhou. I'd go bankrupt in a month! But what a way to go!

 

Actually, prices were reasonable considering. Expensive but not insanely, so.

 

They have a few branches in Ho Chi Minh City and one in Hanoi.  I was at the flagship store at 16 & 18 Hai Bà Trưng, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh,

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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I'd already eaten dinner, but felt peckish later, so popped out for more fried Vietnamese spring rolls.  I much prefer them to the Chinese variety.

 

20180426_190354.thumb.jpg.5a20b090c80f18113501cf4aa4804e44.jpg

 

The menu.

 

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The reality

 

They came with the inevitable noodles, salad and dipping sauce.

 

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To get to this place from my hotel, I had to cross a main road. This is what it looks like at night. In the day time, much the same. And they don't stop for anyone!

 

 

Crazy!

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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That international store looks amazing!  When we were there, I didn't search anything like that out, but I wouldn't have thought to even look for something like that.  I knew Saigon was an international city, but I didn't realize that it was THAT much... the quality of that stuff looked better than a lot of the stuff that I see in NYC.

 

That street video you took was exactly like what we experienced when we wanted to go to the "Chicken corner".  Like a never ending parade. And yet the locals cross it without even looking... 

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8 hours ago, liuzhou said:

One day,  I took a wrong turning and stumbled into this fantasy world. Annam Gourmet Market.

 

This is a very international deli and café.  I was almost in tears looking around. I couldn't possibly carry back all the shop, even if the customs people and my bank manager let me! The cheese! The charcuterie! The olives! The fish! The everything!

 

I've never seen anything like this in China, even in Shanghai or Beijing.

 

I had a similar experience, although it wasn't gourmet-ish. After I had been living in Japan for 7-8 months, I went to Nagoya to take care of some official paperwork. While there, I stopped at an "American store" (I don't remember the exact term), with shelf after shelf of typical American grocery store items. I never thought I'd feel like crying in the presence of Heinz ketchup and Campbell's soup. I guess I was more homesick than I realized.

 

It looks like all the signs are in English. Why do you think that is?

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5 minutes ago, Alex said:

It looks like all the signs are in English. Why do you think that is?

 

The signs were in both Vietnamese and English. Why English? Because the vast majority of non-Vietnamese customers speak at least some English. It is the international language! And many younger Vietnamese speak English

 

I have one good friend in Hanoi who speaks, Vietnamese, Chinese, English and French, all fluently.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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18 hours ago, liuzhou said:

One day,  I took a wrong turning and stumbled into this fantasy world. Annam Gourmet Market.

 

This is a very international deli and café.  I was almost in tears looking around. I couldn't possibly carry back all the shop, even if the customs people and my bank manager let me! The cheese! The charcuterie! The olives! The fish! The everything!

 

I've never seen anything like this in China, even in Shanghai or Beijing.

 

 

There's a good specialty food supermarket at the bottom of Saigon Center. It's a Japanese department store chain so they have a Japanese food hall in the basement with a supermarket adjacent. 

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5 hours ago, Shalmanese said:

 

There's a good specialty food supermarket at the bottom of Saigon Center. It's a Japanese department store chain so they have a Japanese food hall in the basement with a supermarket adjacent. 

 

Yes, there are all sorts of international food places. Both restaurants and markets/stores. I saw Indian, Syrian, Singaporean etc.

 

There is a large Russian market and of course, a huge Chinatown, which I didn't visit.  I live in China!

 

IMG_8201.thumb.jpg.9f001e33223e0fe40a63013714ba8941.jpg

 

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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One thing the Vietnamese do enjoy of an evening is a bit of grilled/BBQ'd meat with a few beers.  I do too, but didn't partake as it is very much a communal activity and I was there alone most of the time.

 

But every day as I left the hotel to attend to business, I had to pass this large grill place and negotiate my way around the sidewalk to get past where, each morning, they started roasting a whole pig in preparation for the evening trade. They did a second in the afternoon. The head and feet have been removed to be used in another manner.

 

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Edited by liuzhou (log)
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7 hours ago, liuzhou said:

IMG_8384.thumb.jpg.5b9e07dece2fa8bd3b2650ea4fa719ab.jpg

What's stuffed in the pig's hind end? Is it something for flavor, or just material packed in around the pole to keep things stable?

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8 minutes ago, MelissaH said:

What's stuffed in the pig's hind end? Is it something for flavor, or just material packed in around the pole to keep things stable?

 

I didn't investigate too closely, but I think it's probably stability over flavor.  I'm not sure a bunch of herbs rammed into the animal's rear orifice would make much difference.

It certainly doesn't look very dignified.

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Another thing  I noticed around HCMC was a surprisingly (to me) high number of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. This one seems to be one of a chain.

 

IMG_8193.thumb.jpg.02a455160a23c3660e6a2eec13f83c19.jpg

 

I can't say much about them as I didn't partake, although this next one confused me for a second.

 

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A vegan restaurant called Beefsteak? Well of course not. Adjacent restaurants.

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  • 1 year later...

I can't go back and quote the posted picture, but one of the "vegetable oddities" photographed in the market is rainbow chard/Swiss chard.  Beta vulgaris, since you like to list things by genius and species name!  Fantastic veggies.  Stir fried or steamed with a bit of garlic and then topped with a pat of butter or vinegar?  Heaven!

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On 5/14/2018 at 11:17 AM, liuzhou said:

Another thing  I noticed around HCMC was a surprisingly (to me) high number of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. This one seems to be one of a chain.

 

IMG_8193.thumb.jpg.02a455160a23c3660e6a2eec13f83c19.jpg

 

I can't say much about them as I didn't partake, although this next one confused me for a second.

 

IMG_8008.thumb.jpg.2c0ebe9c631198972b0626130c6f9c5c.jpg

 

A vegan restaurant called Beefsteak? Well of course not. Adjacent restaurants.

 

They cater to the Buddhist customers!  Beijing has quite a few vegetarian restaurants, especially around the lamaseries. 

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46 minutes ago, fondue said:

 

They cater to the Buddhist customers!  Beijing has quite a few vegetarian restaurants, especially around the lamaseries. 

 

I know. But apparently only in the tourist areas!

 

About 0.0001% of Beijing restaurants are vegetarian, again usually in tourist areas only. And anyway, not all Buddhists are vegetarian. The Dalai Lama isn't.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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