Wired & Wonderful: Vietnam

Notice the clever retitling of this post - that's 
because Vietnam is mad for wiring. Seemingly 
millions of wires hang from every orifice.
Street lamps disappear behind a tangle of wires.
An abandoned piss-bag-drink left by a tramp?
Real elephants' feet apparently
Birds doing it doggy style
Yep even more wires...
Not one of these fools still plays for Arsenal
Is that a willy?
Beer on moped - don't drink and drive
Ice on moped - this is how diarrhoea starts
Going in for the kill...
Chickens on moped - do they count as free range?
Real hair!
Crazy Buddhas!
We saw a few of these shops, which only sell milk
The Vietnamese currency is called dong
Poor Babe
Roadside chicken outside hairdressers
This one had a megaphone telling
everyone to be even noisier!
Cave formation at Ha Long - a "canon"...yeh, sure
A floating tuck shop

Snake's Heart in my Mouth

The hasselhott city of Hanoi was an interesting experience due to the volume of decent food. You've already seen some in the last post but this next meal is really different. "Never try, never know" is a commonly used expression by Vietnamese hawkers / sellers. With this in mind, we stepped into another culinary adventure.
On the Ha Long Bay trip, we met some topless Norwegians and a Dane, and agreed to meet up for some drinks. We ended spending a few nights with them trying out a variety of cheap beers. Then one night we went to an area of Hanoi famous for eating one type of very traditional meat.
Not porcupine! They just had some there as pets I suppose... The restaurant was famous for serving snake, in all manner of forms.
I assume they're not poisonous
First you choose your snake and then they then serve you some liquor made with its insides.
Green - Sweet liquor mixed with snake's 
gall bladder, releasing the bile.
Red - Snake's blood and sweet rice wine.
Top Left: Grilled Snake - Like tiny little barbecued ribs - very tasty!
Top Middle: Fried Snake Ribsbrittele - Crushed up bones & spices. Crunchy.
Top Right: Snake Spring Roll - Pretty darn good, like a normal spring roll.
Middle Left: Snake Pied - Spices made these snake-meat balls dead tasty.
Middle Right: Soft Snake Skin - The worst of the lot. A hard, rubbery texture.
Bottom: Sauteed Snake with Citronella - Really delicious. Soft like fish.
A close-up of the soft snake skin.
The snake skin tasted strange with a highly unusual texture, but it wasn't as strange as something I had eaten a bit earlier.

I volunteered to have the honour of the most sacred part of the snake - the heart. I didn't eat it using the usual method of knife or fork... I didn't even use chopsticks.

Ripping an animal's beating heart out with my teeth has always been an ambition of mine.

Now there's something you don't do everyday.

Vietnam In My Mouth

One of Vietnam's most famous dishes: Pho (f-uh). 
It's a noodle soup with onions and meat, that varies in 
flavour from city to city. The best is said to be in Hanoi, 
and I am inclined to agree - it has a bit more flavour.
Slightly different Pho. 
Classic fresh spring rolls. A pain in the arse to eat, because 
the wrapper is dead tough and sticky, and the filling falls out 
at the blink of an eye. Tasty though, with a lovely crunch.
These fresh rolls had pork in, and were delicious.
Made from the same ingredients as above,
but deep fried and of course, better for it.
Chicken Hot Pot. The sauce was soy and really
rich, and the onions were caramelised beautifully.
Eels up inside ya, finding an entrance where they can!
The bones were annoying, but it tasted ok, with a  fishy feel.
A delicious meat and noodle dish, flavoured with
peanuts, fresh herbs and chilli. Perfection.
Grilled aubergine...naturally.
1 - The salad element of Dave's epic set dinner.
Chicken, onions, carrots, herbs, all shredded and
combined with a delicious dressing...
2 - Crispy fried won tons (open), topped with veg,
prawns and chicken, in a sweet and sour sauce.
One of the best things we had in Vietnam.
3 - The main dish. Saffron and lemon grass
steamed fish. Lots of bones but very well cooked.
4 - Ok well not included in the set menu, but at 12p,
that's right, twelve English pennies for a delicious beer,
and just £3.30 for the meal, it's a right bargain!
Cau Lao - a very traditional noodle dish from Hoi An.
Flat rice noodles, topped with pork, chillies,  fresh herbs
and crunchy fried croutons (thanks to the French).
This meal will fill you up and leave your mouth happy.
Another Hoi An speciality - White Rose.
They are glutinous rice dumplings filled with prawn.
Dave said they were "deliciously average".
Duck and pineapple hot pot. A bit too sweet for
my liking, but tasty meat and beans.
Crunchy corn shell stuffed with meat and prawns.
The satay dipping sauce really made it special.
Pork, grilled  on lemon grass skewers, with salad and rice
paper wraps, and a lovely peanut dipping sauce. 
Weird crispy noodles with vegetables. The texture
of the noodles was reminiscent of Skips...odd.
Pork in caramel sauce, with a weird egg.
It seemed to have been cooked for so long
that the outside was tough and chewy. We
also got our favourite morning glory with garlic.
This weird vegetable was served as "dessert".
It had the texture of apple, but the flavour of
 sugar snap peas - apparently it's a kind of radish.
Wow. A mountainous plate of beef, onions and veggies, with
bread, a mean dipping sauce and a grill to cook it all on.
The Vietnamese version of our much loved Korean barbecue.
This lovely lady cooked up a couple of omelette sandwiches
for us at the side of the road.
These weird oreo-wannabes had coffee cream
inside, but from a distance, smelt of tuna. Weird.
An amazing ice cream sundae, from the 
famous Fannys, in Saigon. Coffee, vanilla, 
caramel ice cream with caramel sauce
Dave couldn't get enough!
Strange fruit from a stranger on the train.
Kind of like a lychee, but with a milder flavour.
Horrible taro flavoured ice cream.
This was a weird one. Mango and
chocolate shake - not as good
as it could have been, since it wasn't
fresh mango or real chocolate.