Vietnam is definitely the land of smiles – until you encounter some of its more unusual choices for dinner
They say that in order to fully comprehend the immaterial aspects of a foreign culture, you need to eat what the locals eat.
And for Westerners who have been brought up on steak, fried chicken, potatoes and pies, nothing could be more disconcerting (or sometimes frightening) than to ‘meet’ proteins and carbohydrate sources that are simply not used in one’s home country. Welcome to Vietnam. Now have some balut.
Balut has garnered the most reputation for shocking tourists than any other food in Southeast Asia. Balut has partially developed duck fetus, swimming in its own amniotic fluid. That’s basically it.
You boil it up and eat it whole – sometimes with little duck feet and bill intact. Balut is a mythical food in Vietnam because it’s so tasty, but also because the laksa herbs used are said to help with digestion. There is also balut in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
Tiet Canh is a type of pudding made from fresh animal blood. Seasonings are mixed with the blood, as well as chopped meat and innards.
The fresh blood will eventually coagulate, and the resulting mix is salty, game-y, and surprisingly well-balanced despite the fact that it uses uncooked animal blood. Lemon slices and sprigs of mint can also be added to make the dish better-tasting.