Eating Local in Vietnam

Some of the food here is a bit weird, tasty but not what we’d do in the west.

I have a room in a house that’s far from any tourist centres sort of a well to do middle class area, there’s some nice houses and lots and lots of front room type eating places (it’s a stretch to call them restaurants) dotted around the neighborhood, then there’s a main road with more dedicated food places, a few stalls and yes things I would call a restaurant.

Many of the houses here are 3 story and the ground floor has large shutter doors so the space can be used for seating for a coffee shop, a small eating place and at night the place to park their car. On the main street there are dedicated food places with a similar set up and a couple of cafe / restaurants, there’s lots of stalls that sell filled baguettes, smoothies and noodles.

Vietnam has a few national dishes, some shops specialize in rice or noodles or one particular dish some do a variety some do all. Rice and a meat, different types of noodles soups, and a couple of thing I haven’t seen before.

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This is my new favorite, Banh beo, nem lui. The yellow thing is 2 thin crispy omelettes with bean sprouts and a prawn in between, then there’s some sort of pork meat wrapped around a lemon grass stalk, rice paper wrappers, salad which includes a very bitter green thing and some dipping sauce. It’s a self assembly deal with chop sticks (my skills have increased exponentially since arriving). While sitting eating I saw a rat run across the floor, a cockroach around the table legs and grandma wrapping the raw meat around the lemongrass stalks in what looked like a basic living room sitting area while watching the TV! Safe food can be made in a dirty kitchen – difficult but possible!  Food was freshly cooked and only cost £1.30 and filling.

Then we have the noodle soup, some is totally self assembly some get half assembled but you always get salad, the salad your supposed to put into the soup and eat hot – now that’s weird.

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Breakfast is variety of eggs here with beef (bo ne)  the french baguette influence remains.

There’s the classic use of western brands and names on their local shops.

Unusual products in the shops. White fungus drink – yummy. Weasel Coffee! the weasel eats the best coffee beans, poop out the fermented beans which are washed (i hope) roasted ground and brewed up into coffee – It’s quite nice. But I wonder if it can be called vegetarian?

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Just about everywhere you will see the washer woman squatting over bowls of soupy looking suds washing the utensils which after rinsing will be dried in the sun.

Another favourite is My Quang and this is from a place that’s the nearest thing to a local chain restaurant, from what i can gather there’s 7 branches and they even have a web site.

I sat down looked over the menu, practiced my best pronunciation and for the beef but the girl pointed to one thing as if to say that’s all we have now & that’s what i ordered. (when in Rome!) As you can see the a big rice cracker salad and a bowl of mixed beef shrimp chicken & noodles, hmmm very nice. I broke the cracker nibbled some with salad and one if the kind waiters came over and showed me I was doing it wrong and I should or everything in the bowl of noodles and eat from there. No problem (when in Rome!) Hihi (Vietnamese way of writing ha ha or lol)

The last time I saw a whole pig roasting on the pavement it had head and teeth still intact.

I will add some more food photos as my trip goes on.

Bully Bowling

10 pin bowling is pretty popular all over Thailand but not in Chiang Mai, after going to the local alley I’m not surprised.

I went to Bully Bowling located on the 4th floor of Kad Suan Kaew shopping centre (Kad as it’s know locally) the other day and now I know why it’s not more popular in Chiang Mai.

Finding the place was the hardest part, I know Thailand isn’t the best place at maintaining facilities but the difficulty finding it would have put off the majority of tourist visitors.

Kad is one of the oldest shopping centres it’s pretty big and many of the smaller shops especially in the rear have moved out and are shuttered up, you can be wandering around the area with no visibly open shops then find a solitary one open as you round a corner.

Finding It

Most people enter the the shopping centre at the front and use the first set of escalators to get the the 4th floor where you will find the cinema and a tiny hanging sign pointing down a dark desolate corridor, if it wasn’t for the nice lady on the concessions counter saying to follow the passage with numerous pointing actions that I soon discovered wasn’t and exaggeration, I might have given up.

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See the tiny tiny sign!?

Down the first corridor round the corner past the toilet and round another without a sign or direction to encourage the would be visitor and there you will find a closed up darkened bowling alley and bitter disappointment,

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Locked and with the lights out

Not immediately obvious off to the right you might just see or hear some life, they have moved the alley and forgot to tell anyone!

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At last I’ve found it

 

 

The place had seen better days, I had hoped, the paint was flaking the carpet was dirty the equipment was falling apart, the little screen in the picture would flash and stutter on every bowl!

Apart from the decor, equipment and not the most friendly of staff the bowling was OK, not a bad lane it did keep score in the over head thingy and in the evening they have disco bowling which I’m sure is more fun than the empty afternoon I spent there.

Prices and food menu below.

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The Petroleum Towers

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The Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur are built on the cold dead bodies of dinosaurs or so their marketing says.

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Wondering around the on the top floor of the relatively high end shopping centre is the Petrosians Discovery Centre, it’s a destination for school kids and tourist to show them the miracles the petroleum industry can do. I didn’t go in but I bet it doesn’t show the miracles of century long pollution.

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I did go in the gift shop though and found cuddly dinosaurs and irony of ironies little plastic dinosaurs made from of course petroleum!

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If the twin towers in New York represented world finance and soon after they fell we had the biggest world finance crash and bail out, more than the all time NASA budget.

These undoubtedly represent world energy and as they claim to recycle dinosaurs will they get a big recycling bag over them before burning petroleum for fuel is replaced by new alternative energy.  Perhaps it’ll become a new luxury item only the super rich can afford, and your Crimplene shirts from the 70’s will be collectors items.