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Published: April 13th 2009
I love food, especially seafood. Our country has a long coastline (3,200km), so fishing is the common work for the local people to make a living. Whenever I travel to a beach town in Vietnam, I find a seafood restaurant and try to taste some local specialties. I think people living on the sea side are very lucky because they enjoy fresh seafood, not frozen. At various restaurants in the big cities of Vietnam there are fresh fish and sea animals in water tanks or small glass pool, so that customers can choose and order food. On many beaches the local people approach tourists and take orders, then cook right there. The food can be steamed crab, prawn or squid. However, most of the time tourists choose local seafood restaurants when they go the beach.
On one of my trips in central Vietnam I went to an island and met a local girl. She took me to her house and caught some sea snails, then boiled them and we ate together. It was so simple and easy for her. Everything was just outside the house.
Seafood can be made in different ways. Vietnamese people love to steam, grill and
fry, as well as cooking with noodles.Other than that, we eat squid, prawn, fish, sea snails, sea worms, clams and crabs etc. Jellyfish can be used to make noodle soup or salad. Some herbs or spring onions are used when steaming seafood. We use fish sauce, salt and pepper, lemon, or just chili sauce when eating seafood. As you can see in my photos, there are various types of delicious seafood in different regions of Vietnam. I don't know the names of some types of oysters in English, so I wrote in Vietnamese.
People living far from the sea catch river fish, eels, little crabs or tiny clams and use them in their food. Seafood can be expensive in the big cities and in the highlands. There are fishing farms in the lagoons or right on the sea. When you visit Ha Long bay, you can see many floating houses where the locals live and look after their businesses. There are various types of fish, prawns, sea snails and oysters which are raised in the farms. It's a hard work. Sometimes the local people lose everything because of a typhoon which hit the region, or an epidemic which kill
prawns or oysters.
If you visit an island or a beach town in Vietnam, try to get to the local markets in the early morning. It's the time when fishermen come back to the mainland after catching fish and they sell the freshest products. It's always very exciting to watch how the locals sell and buy things at the markets, as well as learning what kind of special fish they have in the area.
My other blogs about Vietnamese food and drinks: Eating around Vietnam My favorite food in Hanoi "Phở" noodle soup - a feature of Hanoi Bia Hơi (Vietnamese fresh beer)
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