Whenever I go to any foreign places, it is always interesting to tune to their local tv channels to get a taste of the local media. I think there is no other places that airs more languages on national TV than in Malaysia. On last count, we have more than 10 languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Japanese, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Tamil, Hindi.. not to mention Manglish.
Situation in Vietnam is slightly different, instead of airing shows in their respective languages, they usually dub it in Vietnamese. However, if you listen closely, they only use ONE person to dub the entire movie. It doesn’t matter if the actor on screen is old, young, male, female, baby, dog, cat.. just one person speaking the dialogs monotonously, without emotion nor any hint of passion.
My Vietnamese friend, Trinh invited me to his house for dinner, and knowing that I am some sort of an explorer when it comes to food, he got his wife to prepare one of the more interesting dishes I’ve had recently. Fried bee’s pupae!
don’t they look lovely?
The dish is prepared by frying the pupae lightly with minimal seasoning, looks to me that only oil and some shallots was used. My friend told me that there are many ways the dish is prepared. As you bite this strange looking creature, the liquid interior of the insect bursts in your mouth, the texture is certainly interesting. However, to be honest, the taste is rather blunt, I think a stronger seasoning might help.
very good Vietnamese hospitality
My Vietnamese friend’s house is quite narrow and short in Malaysian standard, but in the city of 7 million, land is pretty expensive. This particular house is slightly less than 3 meters in width, and probably some 10 meters in depth. It was a pretty interesting experience.
Updates will be sparse these few days as I am traveling on assignment at Ho Chi Minh City again. This time around I surely will try more interesting food. So far I’ve tried fried bee larva (will post on that soon), lets see what I manage to get in the next few days!
The reason this blog hasn’t been updated for the past few days is a sound one. I was at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam again, and the hotel wanted to charge something like US $17 per day for internet access, I guess I could live without going online for a few days. I had the chance to walk around the city a bit and take a few pictures from the street.
not going to school
There are still many under privileged children in this city, selling various items such as chewing gums, or like in this case, providing a shoe shining service.
buy from me?
This lady kept asking me to buy a coconut from her. I had no idea how much one would cost, and she doesn’t speak English either.
i want a bike
It seems like this guy, who appears to be a rat trapper, would very much love to be able to own a motorbike one day. Ho Chi Minh City has a very high concentration of motorbikes, pretty much like Penang in the 80s, except maybe 5x as busy.
A white lady is trying to figure out what’s for breakfast. I guess it wasn’t too attractive as she just walked past the mobile restaurant. You can find these sort of hawkers all over HCMC.
Just before heading to SGN airport coming back to Malaysia during the last trip at HCMC, I decided to have some Japanese food instead of traditional Vietnamese Food. Instead of catching a cab, I just started to walk down the busy Hai Ba Trung Street to check out the numerous Japanese restaurant around the city.
Angler Fish Liver and Sashimi
After passing a handful of Japanese restaurants that are either too expensive or offering only a limited menu, I decided to go into Akatonbo as the menu displayed outside the door looks enticing, and reasonably priced as well.
The sashimi, consisting of salmon, tuna, squid, octopus tentacles, and two other types of fish, were very fresh and properly cut. Though the serving was somewhat small and rice were not included, it was still pretty good. The Angler fish liver, though, was quite interesting. I had actually wanted to order it at Zen sushi at Subang Jaya once but it was a seasonal offering and they had run out of it, so this was actually the first time I tasted this Japanese delicacy. The texture of the liver is similar to pickled tofu, but slightly tougher, it has a rich and fatty taste to it, often described to be similar to foie gras. It was really good, and served exactly like how it’s meant to.
More on Ankimo:
The liver is first rubbed with salt, then rinsed with sake. Then its veins are picked out and the liver is rolled into a cylinder and steamed. Ankimo is often served with chili-tinted grated daikon radish, thinly sliced green onions and ponzu sauce.
Akatonbo restaurant is at the heart of District 1, HCMC
The total damage was less than $14 USD (less than RM 50). Pretty good value for the interesting Ankimo and the good quality sashmi. Yogurt is served after the meal too, a pretty good concept that no Japanese restaurants in Malaysia that I am aware of follows.
Address: 38 Hai Ba Trung Street,
District 1, HCMC, Vietnam Tel:8-244-928