Friday, November 30, 2012

Vietnam: Unique Snacks

During my stay in Vietnam, I had a lot of snacks here and there. They're not sufficiently meals, though they could've been, but they are something to pass the time with when you have nothing to do...

Some may seem different and strange while others are just regular snacks that you've seen and ate before. Each one made the trip that much more memorable.

I wish I took a photo of how it looks inside because the Banh Chuoi Dua Nuong which is basically grilled coconut banana sandwich. The inside was a whole banana being wrapped with sticky rice that was cooked in an aromatic coconut milk, grill the sucker up and there you have a great sweet snack.

I have no name for this because I just took it from the living room and went into another room and silently ate it in happiness. Another sweet type of snack, this one had a mochi exterior with an ultra sweet filling. I tasted a lot of sugar, along with shredded coconut, red bean and more sugar. I would be happy with just the chewy mochi on the outside.

Whenever I think/see/taste Cha Lua, it brings me back to Vietnam. One of the first official food I associate with my country was this. Cha lua aka Vietnamese ham or sausage is essentially pounded pork with spices and then steamed in banana leaves. Pretty much has the consistency of your bologna.

On a late hot night, my cousin-in-law took me for some dessert. They also have savory desserts (if you know what I mean). She ordered the Xoi Thap Cam (top) which has sticky rice, pork, cha lua, fried shrimp, and a side of pickled daikon and carrots. I had a sweeter dessert of Che Thai (bottom), it included jelly, beans, corn, durian in coconut milk. As for the drink, it was a simple red and mung bean in coconut milk. See what I mean when I say this can be a meal!

This was one of my favorite snacks in Vietnam. I've had Dau Fu Fa in the states before but for some reason it just taste extra great here. The tofu was really soft and silky, the person added some mochi balls and slices of jackfruit, the best part was the gingerly syrup. Usually I eat this cold, but this warm version is absolutely unforgettable.

Got these mini cakes in the streets while walking in the market with my mom and aunt. It looked so welcoming and fresh that I just had to get it. It's on the sweeter side than I'm use to but it was insanely fluffy and airy.

All the 3 goodies where bought from the same vendor. They fried the dough on the spot which yield ultra freshness. The round one (my all-time favorite) is Banh Tieu, hollow center with a slight sweetness and covered in sesame seeds. The long looking one is Yau Ja Gwai or as we Americans call it Fried Cruller, no taste to it, so you're just eating a long oily fried dough.
The white looking cake is Banh Bo, it has a bouncy texture to it and it's either already sweetened or you can eat it with thickened coconut milk. It's similar to a sponge cake but has these honeycomb-like holes in it, so it's great have it with the coconut milk since it can soak up all the goodness.

Last but certainly not least, this might be the most bizarre yet. Hot Vit Lon, fertilized duck embryo aka Balut in Cambodia, tasted just like chicken! I've had this before but not fried and it's certainly something new to me since I usually eat it hard-boiled. It might be mind-boggling and disturbing but hey, you only live once so why not?

And you thought duck eggs were weird, what about quail eggs? This was definitely new to me and even my parents. What I did like about it was how easy it was to eat, and small so I can just pop it in my mouth. I know I probably sound really evil, but it was gooood.

A lot of these snacks were really cheap, probably less than $1USD and they're assessible also.

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