Search
Food corner

“There is no sauce in the world like hunger.”

Miguel de Cervantes

Twitter feed
Tags
Aleppo pepper Alicante all spice almond anchovy apple apricot Argentina artichokes asparagus aubergine autumn bacon banana Bangkok basil beef beetroot bergamot berry biscuit bistro bloggers Bolivia Borough Market bread breadcrumbs British budget budwig diet Buenos Aires bulgar wheat burrata butter cabbage cafe cake Calais capers caraway cardamom carrot cauliflower chard cheddar cheese chick peas chicken chicory chilli chocolate chorizo Christmas cinnamon clams cloves cobnut cocoa coconut cooking class Copenhagen Córdoba coriander cornflakes cottage cheese courgette flowers crayfish cream cream cheese creme fraiche cucumber culinary catastrophe cumin daikon Dalmatia delivery dill dips dough Dubrovnik Easter easy Edinburgh egg eggplant fennel feta fettuccine ffine bean Filipino filo fine dining Finsbury Park fish fish sauce five spice flour food aid food anthropology food tour French game garlic gastropub gherkin ginger gluten free goat's cheese goat's curd golden syrup greengage Guinness halloumi ham Hanoi harissa hazelnut hibiscus Hoi An honey horseradish humanitarian relief Islington Istanbul Italian jam Japanese juniper Kent ketchup kielbasa kinilaw Korean lamb leek lemon lemongrass lentils lime linseed London loquat Madrid market mascarpone Mayfair Mendoza mid-range milk mint mirin monk's beard morcilla mozzarella mushroom mussels mustard Nahm Natoora Nepalese New Nordic New Zealand noras oats olive olive oil onion orange Oxfordshire oxtail paprika Paris Parmesan parsley party pastry peanut pear peas pepper Peru Philippines pickle pine nuts pizza pomegranate pomegranate molasses pop-ups pork potato prawn preserved lemon prosciutto Provence providore prunes Puerto Iguazú pulse pumpkin purple sprouting broccoli quail egg quick radish ragu ras el hanout raspberries red pepper paste red wine refugees restaurant rhubarb ribs rice ricotta rocket rosemary runner bean saffron sage San Sebastian sausage shallot short and sweet slow-cooked smoked mackerel smoked salmon sorrel souffle soy spaghetti spinach spring squid stilton stock street food sugar sumac summer supper club Sydney syrup Tabasco tagliatelle tahini take away tamarind tarragon tart Thai thyme tom yum paste tomato tomato paste tuna Turkey veal vegetarian versatile Vietnam Vietnamese vinegar walnut water chestnut white pepper wine winter yoghurt
« Vy's Market Tour and Cooking Class, Hoi An | Main | Best things I've eaten in Vietnam (so far) »
Friday
Mar242017

Weird and 'wonderful' food in Hoi An

I'm fairly open-minded with food and will try most things once, but there are a few things I just know I never, ever want to put in my mouth. Or so I thought. Today I ate something that I never thought would pass my lips. But let’s build up to that, like I had to. 

As part of a market tour and cooking class I did in Hoi An, we were given the opportunity to sample a number of dishes at Vy’s Market Restaurant, which is basically a posh version of a street food market geared towards westerners. That doesn’t mean they dumb down the food; if anything, in an effort to educate foreigners they go to great lengths to provide all manner of dishes from around the country.

They let us in gently with some lovely tasters, such as these gorgeous bahn cuon, which are like a mini-version of bahn xeo (rice-flour pancake). Slightly thicker, they were crispy on the outside, soft and juicy in the centre and studded with little pieces of pork, chives and a crispy prawn.

Then it was time to hit the ‘Weird and Wonderful’ section. Weird definitely. Wonderful, not entirely. Don’t get me wrong – there were some good bits. These river snails with chilli and lemongrass were fantastic:

They were huge with a meaty texture more like hake or monkfish than the chewy, bogey type things that the French love. (I like escargot, but mainly because they are a vehicle for shit loads of garlic butter, I don’t think they have a whole lot of flavour). Like their little cousins, they are also a great vehicle for the sauce they are in and lemongrass and chilli are two of my favourite Asian ingredients, so they topped my list.

I liked the frog legs and the offal was pretty good too, but both mostly tasted of the rich, salty stew they were a part of. No surprises there.

Things deteriorated when I moved onto pig’s brain. I actually love brains done well. The best I’ve ever had were at Chez Bruce – deep-fried and served with sauce gribiche – they were so smooth and creamy I felt like I was eating a deep-fried ball of mozzarella. These brains, on the other hand, were less creamy, more slimy and without any redeeming features, such as a nice crispy coating or delicious sauce. Just slimy, gooey brains, pure and simple.

Next up, silkworm salad. I think this is actually one of the worst things I have ever put in my mouth. I mean the salad was great – a typical Vietnamese salad of raw, crunchy vegetables with fresh herbs, a sweet and salty nuoc mam dressing and a hint of spice. I just don’t understand why anyone would want to eat a silkworm.

I don’t know if you have ever seen a silkworm, but they are bumpy little creatures. When you put them in your mouth each little bump pops individually as you chew. Pop-mush-pop-mush-pop-mush-pop! I can’t really remember what it tasted like. I was trying very hard not to gag as I felt each part of its body explode in my mouth.

After this textural experience, I couldn’t stomach the jellyfish salad, but I did try the duck embryo – said dish that I thought I would never EVER eat in my lifetime. And you know what? It was actually fine. It just tasted like egg with a few crunchy bits. I'd recommend it over silkworm anyday.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>