Friday, 17 June 2011

VIETNAM: Nha Trang

Nha trang is a coastal city bang on the South Central Coast of Vietnam with some great beaches and for obvious reasons very popular with Vietnamese and international tourists alike.

The local bakery also sells Bánh bao, steamed filled rice flour buns. You can find variations all around Asia with the origins in China. Same same, but different.

Bánh xèo means "sizzling cake" and they are Vietnamese pancakes made of rice flour stuffed with slivers of fatty pork, shrimp and bean sprouts and then pan fried. They are served with fresh herbs and dipped in a sweet fish sauce. And if you like it spicy add some of the homemade chili garlic paste.

Bánh goi remind me of Cornish pasties with their crispy fried pastry. These ones are filled with minced pork, onions and half a boiled quails egg. You can dip them in the sweet chili sauce that you get in the little bag. Vendors can wrap anything for take away with just a plastic bag and a rubber band. Even drinks. Easy.

During our stay was the Festival biển 2011 and the city celebrated at night with performances and fireworks and lots of stalls and pop-up vendors selling straight out of a basket or from their bicycle.

You know you're turning Vietnamese when you can comfortably sleep on your motorbike like a xe om driver. Or when you wear a facemask and keep your helmet on when entering a shop or bank or even on the beach. You continue to take calls while driving and red lights don't mean stop under all circumstances. You will transport furniture, a refrigerator or large flatscreen TV home by motorbike and it's normal to have more than 2 people on it. And at night your living room will double up as a parking lot for your previous vehicle.

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