Published: November 24th 2008November 24th 2008
Heres a quick entry just to cap off my adventures in vietnam. spent a few days in mui ne, a beach spot famous for kite surfing. at any time there would be 50 or so kites out on the water, a really cool place. But saigon is the main topic of this entry.
saigon was everything i thought vietnam would be; an overload on each of the senses. as you may have gathered from previous entries, i have been eating my way through asia trying everything and anything. I am intrigued as to why people eat all of the weird foods around here...believe me there is no shortage. walking a local market i stopped for a drink with a friend and we saw a local eating what looked like a hard boiled egg. i have read about them before, named "Hot vit Lon" this was a local delicassie...why not.
basically its a chicken egg that has been incubated for 15-20 days allowing the chicken embroy to form. cracking the shell open you see the fetus of a chicken, little feathers, bones, and the formation of a digestive system. served with some herbs and coarse salt i gave it a
go. tasted like briny boiled chicken with lots of little crunchy bits mixed with an over-boiled egg yolk.
next on my list was something i read a lot about but heard was quite tough to find, especially in backpacker areas...Cobra.
asking around for a couple of days i was finally pointed in the right direction and sent to a local restaurant where the sight of 3 white people (me a norweigen and an irish fellow) was reason enough for people to stop eating and stare. it took about 20 minutes before anyone understood what we were asking about, and we were then lead to the back of the restaurant where two bags lay on the floor...hissing.
even the waiters and chefs were scared to go near them...i found what i was looking for.
they take the cobra, cut its head off with garden shears and drain the blood into a dish. they mix the blood in a pint glass with rice whiskey and bring it to the table with shot glasses. because this was my idea they delivered to me in a small bowl the beating heart of the cobra....a beating heart is one of the
Hot Vit Lon - Chicken Embryo
most deranged things i have ever seen, let alone put in my mouth. so with a quick slurp and a chaser of blood/whiskey i swallowed the heart.
they served the cobra 3 ways. i) the stomach, intestines and liver stir-fried with vegetables (quite chewy but tasty). ii) a section of the snake, skin, bones, meat and all minced and fried with lemongrass and chilis served on a rice cracker (so flavorful and delicious). iii) cobra soup: a fragrant broth with chunks of noticeable snake.
All in all it was much more delicious then i ever thought.
besides the food, i also went to the war museum which was fascinating and difficult at the same time. the cu chi tunnels were also amazing. a set of tunnels that the VC used to battle the US which was an underground maze of traps and secret doorways. half way into the tour a guide asked if we would like to shoot guns...only in vietnam. so for a couple of dollars i got to fire an m16 and an m60...pretty neat yet terrifying.
i took local transportation from vietnam into cambodia to a beach spot called sihanoukville. great way to
Hot Vit Lon - Chicken Embryo...bones, feathers and all
travel...local buses are always interesting. I had a 30 lbs of garlic as a foot stool. we took motorbikes to the border and most of the way to the city.
i didnt mention in an earlier entry, but my visa was canceled about 4 days into my trip so ive been using my debit and dont have a backup plan. my debit was just canceled by hsbc due to suspicious transactions in vietnam...so now im in cambodia with no money...not a dime. im with a norweigen fellow who is lending me day to day (hopefully with no interest) until i meet my friend in malaysia who will hopefully have my cards sent to him.
all part of the adventure.
There are more photos below