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Culinary Ambassadors: Breakfast in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The Culinary Ambassador Corps 8 comments

A 51¢ (10,000 VND) breakfast banh mi consists of grilled pork, fried egg, sautéed onions, cucumbers, pickled carrots & radish, and cilantro. A spread of pate with a squirt of sweet chili sauce and soy sauce season everything inside. Pork is grilled next to the cart and eggs are fried to order. The fresh ingredients are all assembled in a light crusty Vietnamese baguette right in front of your eyes. More

Eating Mice Can Be Rather Nice

Cathy Chaplin 9 comments

There are some very interesting meats available for consumption in Southeast Asia. I’ve seen bugs, ostriches, dogs, snakes, bats, and even cats for sale. While I draw the line at domesticated animals and insects, I’ll pretty much eat everything else, just as long as it was prepared with love, looks appetizing, and smells good. With the year of the rat in full swing, a group of friends and I recently ventured outside our comfort zones to try a Mekong Delta specialty—mouse. The breed of mice served in local restaurants are not native to the city and are in fact from the countryside. These mice resided in rice fields and feasted on whole grains prior to meeting their makers. If... More

Meatless in Saigon

Cathy Chaplin 5 comments

One would imagine that in a society where roughly 85% of the people are practicing Buddhists, vegetarian restaurants could be found on every corner. While this may be true in some parts of Asia, it is certainly not the case in Saigon, where eateries specializing in com chay are few and far between. Exceptions to this general trend appear on the first and fifteenth of each Lunar Calendar month, when all Buddhists shy away from meat. On these particularly auspicious days, nearly all workers’ lunch establishments (com binh dan) serve vegetarian options.... More

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