Vietnam is an amazing place for foodies. Everything is fresh tasting and there’s a unique flavour not found anywhere else in South East Asia. You’ve probably all heard of Pho and Vietnamese summer rolls, but here is the weirdest food people eat in Vietnam.
Trứng Vịt Lộn, otherwise known as the infamous balut. People associate balut with the Philippines and Thailand but it is also a very popular dish in Vietnam. It’s a developed duck embryo that is most commonly served hard boiled with salt, ginger and herbs. It’s often called gross and disgusting by foreigners, but I’ve never had a problem with it. The way I see it, people eat eggs and people eat duck – why is the bit in between so weird?
Tiết Canh Vịt – This is a type of Vietnamese blood soup. The vịt part means duck, but you can eat tiết canh using most kind of blood. Duck is just the most popular. The dish is made up of collected raw blood which is often mixed with fish sauce, cooked gizzards and crushed peanuts before being put into the fridge to congeal into a jelly like substance. The taste is very meaty but somewhat metallic, due to the high iron content of raw blood. Yes, it’s technically still raw. I personally don’t mind the taste, but I do get a tiny bit squeamish seeing it sometimes.
Thịt Rắn – I refuse to look for photos of this because it’s snake meat. Actually, it’s a lot more than just snake meat. When you go to eat snake in vietnam, you go to eat all of the snake. Firstly they make three types of drinks from the snake. One mixes alcohol with the snake’s venom, this has a yellow colour. The second mixes alcohol with the bile, this has a green colour. Finally the last is mixed with the snake’s blood (sometimes bladder as well) and this is a red colour. Whilst you enjoy these drinks, every part of the snake is cooked, from it’s skin, to it’s meat, to it’s innards and even to it’s bones. It’s really very exceptional how much they get from a snake.
Thịt Chó/ Thịt Mèo – This is one that a lot of people really can’t understand. Dog meat and cat meat. Cat meat is less popular and common. Dog meat is fairly popular. Foreigners have this idea that the vietnamese people will take their pet dogs and eat them. That’s simply not true. Dog meat is used from dogs that are bred for eating, much like how certain cows are bred for beef – dogs that are bred for meat don’t look cute at all by the way, they resemble wild dogs. It is a big cultural difference and I can really understand why some people can’t stand the idea. A comparison I made was when I first told one of my aunties years and years ago that we ate lamb in England. She was horrified that we would eat such a cute and adorable animal, that is so useful alive (wool). I personally find dog meat too strong and odor/taste.
Răng Mực – Squid teeth are a popular item found in South Vietnam. I used to eat them as a kid when I ate whole squid, but because they are found in the top of the squid and are round, I just assumed they were the squid’s eyes. Honestly, I’m not sure if most squid even have eyes. Or why their teeth would be on top of their heads. I might be completely wrong, but this dish is called squids teeth and it’s often grilled with ginger and chilli.
Nem Chua – Nem Chua is a fermented pork sausage which I personally love. It’s pink and looks raw due to being fermented, but it’s perfectly safe to eat. It has a sour, salty sort of taste and is unlike anything else to compare. It’s often served with chilli and coriander (if they’re not already in the product) and it’s a popular snack here too. It can also be cooked and deep fried nem chua is a popular dish.