Monday, June 22, 2009

Thing's I've eaten

With time running out in the country I’ve come to love with a smirk on my face and a tasty banh mi in the hand, I’ve started reminiscing on the things I’ve seen, eaten, and experienced, places I’ve been, people I’ve laughed with and at and all the fillings in between that make everything just, well, bloody good. Now, I’m not trying to compare myself with Andrew Zimmern, but I think it would be worth diarising, before I forget it, some of the random things I’ve managed to put in my mouth, but not always managed to keep down. Caz and anyone who hasn’t experienced the crunchy, juicy goodness of a feathered, baby duck foetus crackling between their molars look away now. From the top.

· Snake. Cobra snake. Head to tail. Bile and blood in shots and crunchy bones. All of it. It had beady eyes so it had to go.

· Fried black scorpion. Tasted like bacon.

· Ox penis. Cartilagy grossness.

· Goat hotpot with pig’s brains. Erm, well, in hindsight I’m not sure the brains needed to be added.

· That fermented duck egg with the little baby (beak intact) inside – hot vit lon it’s called around here – and the worst part, the part that hits the gag reflex, isn’t actually the bits with substance, it’s the sauce that floats on top when you crack it open. It’s like the eggiest omelette you’ve ever had. Like a hundred eggs concentrated in one – very potent.

· A big duck head.

· Fried chicken feet. They chow these in South Africa too – in Kayamandi they call them walky-talkies because you can tie a string around them and wear them around your neck.

· A nice cup of intestine and innards soup. I’m not actually sure what animal it was though.

· A few metres worth of grilled eel. My friend Danga actually has a bit of a thing for these eels and tends to order them whenever they’re available. As well as fish. Lots of them. Jesus can be glad Danga wasn't around when he pulled that stunt with the bread and fish cause disciple John may have had to omit that certain miracle from the good book if he was.

· Frogs. Crumbed and fried in butter, they taste like fishy chicken.

· Some kind of fowl. We’ve actually had this twice at a local restaurant around the corner. The waiter brings it live to the table to make sure that THIS is the bird you’d like to have slaughtered (quite unnecessary, really) and then about an hour later the poultry dishes start arriving. First the heart, liver and kidneys, then then some other random bits and then the rest of it. Not my favourite.

· There were also a few beery nights of quail eggs and pigeon.

· Wild boar and deer, grilled at your table, by yourself, seasoned in five secret spices.

· Some random tropical fruit like durian – which Sarah says taste like meat and onions and even gets the before-mentioned Bizarre Foods host squirming. It’s an acquired taste. My mate alan wasn't a fan either as far as I remember. Now that I think of it, I don't know anyone who's really a fan.

· A variety of crustaceans and snail, round and corckscrewed, thumbnail size and fist sized, raw and cooked, slurpy and very slurpy, funky and funkmeister G.

· Bits and pieces of crocodile, kangaroo, lots of rabbit and I don’t know what else. And that’s just in Vietnam! That’s not even including the salted grasshoppers in Thailand or the yak butter, steak and cheese in Nepal, etc.

Oh and for the record, I’m not a fan of munching down feathered little friends, but I did it and I burned some joss sticks to Uncle Scrooge and the Duck Tales cousins after that little incident to atone for my heartless curiosity. My mate Christoff took the easy approach and just puked in the nearest pot plant.


sarah said...

this post... where do i start...

it was amusing, sure

and the pictures were great

but you had me feeling slightly ill from the mere mention of the cobra shot

brrrrr goose bumps of dismay

also - which one were you in all those pictures?

and ps (this is a long windy comment hey) i MIGHT be going to nam for summer vac. been hearing horror stories. please advise me!!

henno said...

Haha, yes well, I make no excuses for my behaviour...this time. I be the one with the erm...amused look with the shot of cobra blood.

You MIGHT be coming?! What kind of an half-arsed answer is THAT?! What horror stories? From who?!
Maybe this post wasn't the most travel-inspiring one, sorry :P


SA Expats said...

You have more guts than me. I had Camel steaks. It was nice, but that is it. :)

Slyde said...

holy cow would i LOVE to try most of this stuff.

i always try to seek out the exotic, and this stuff definitely hits the bill.

Henno said...

Wouldn't let me try the Holy Cow in Nepal, said it was 'wrong. So I lassooed a yak, wrestled it to the ground barehanded and milked it into a glass. He was so scared it turned to butter immediately so I spread it on a toasty. Well...

Helen said...

I'm feeling a little bit sick now... I guess I can't be fussy if I a=eat any meat then i shold be able to lookit in the... beak and crunch it down regardless...

Damn my weak western stomach!

pham said...

My teacher's face looks so cute..haha..I wish you would have a nice time in last days in Sg.That's a pity,we can't have more opporturnity to see you again so I hope I will see you soon. Maybe in Australia.Do you think so?Nice day.

henno said...

Perhaps perhaps ;)

Di said...

Hey, surprised that ur also a journalist, are u interested in vnese cafe? just visit this one before u leave here, mah teacher ;) Hope u'll enjoy the last moments in Nam and have a good flight ^.^!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you're creating problems yourself by trying to solve this issue instead of looking at why their is a problem in the first place.