Vietnam is known for its delicious food. If you are a foodie, you will surely have a great time in the country. But for those who are adventurous enough, you might want to consider sampling some of the most exotic foods of Vietnam. These foods might sound strange and look disgusting at first, but once you give them a try, you might realize in the end that they are not really that bad. So here’s a list of some exotic foods to eat in Vietnam.
Fried bugs are not only a specialty in Vietnam but also in its neighboring countries, such as Thailand and Cambodia. In some parts of Vietnam, you’ll find deep-fried bugs being sold in some of the street stalls. The ethnic Khmer tribe along the Mekong Delta is known for being adventurous eaters. So when you visit this part of the country, it’s common to see locals snacking on deep-fried giant bugs that are seasoned with chili and some sauce!
2. Dog Meat
The idea of eating the meat of a dog is something that might make you cringed, but this meat is actually a popular cuisine in some areas in Vietnam. In fact, you will find restaurants in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi that serve dishes made of dog. According to some locals, the taste is similar to other meat, such as pork. The meat is cooked in several different ways although most locals would prefer to roast the entire meat. Recently, the government is looking to ban the practice of slaughtering dogs in the country, which is great news for pet lovers and bad news for dog eaters.
Frogs are eaten in various places in Vietnam and are usually paired with ice-cold beer. The meat is skinned before cooking, which is often steamed, grilled, or fried. Most locals would eat it with rice or just on its own, seasoned with lemon, salt, and pepper. Surprisingly, many tourists who have tasted frog in Vietnam find it delicious. According to them, it tastes just like chicken. In fact, the meat is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy dish!
In some of the coastal villages of Vietnam, the jellyfish is a popular street food staple. In fact, it’s cooked in many ways although it’s commonly made into salads. The jellyfish salad is served with unripe mango, fresh herbs, and chill, and dipped into a specialty sauce. It’s also used as an ingredient in noodles and soups. However, eating this seafood during the breeding season is said to be dangerous because they are known to accumulate too many toxins during this time and could lead to food poisoning.
5. Pig’s Ear
If you eat pork, a pig’s ear may be “less scary” for you to try, although it’s pretty strange to be eating this part of the animal. A pair of pig ear can make for a delicious dinner meal in some of the local villages in the country. The ears are sliced thinly and mixed with ground rice flour. It’s then wrapped in rice paper along with some fresh herbs and served with a dipping sauce. Sometimes, it’s made into salads, which is actually quite tasty!
Rat is a common food in the countryside of Vietnam, most especially those who are close to the Mekong Delta. The rats in this part of the country feed on rice from the rice paddies, which make them safe to consume. Before cooking, the rats are skinned. They are then steamed, grilled, or fried. Others would even cook them into a curry dish! While eating rats might sound disgusting to many, those who have tried them have said that they are actually very tasty!
Snails may not sound very exotic, especially since it’s commonly eaten in some other countries in the world, such as in France. Having been colonized by the French in the 1950s, it’s pretty safe to assume that it is the French who brought the idea of eating snails in Vietnam. Nowadays, the snails are quite popular all over the country. It’s usually cooked in lemongrass and some herbs and stuffed with mushrooms. In Hoi An, you’ll find lots of fresh sea snails being sold in the market and some restaurants can cook the snails for you.
In Hanoi, there’s a village that specializes in all things snake. The Le Mat village is lined with shophouses and restaurants that specialize in snake cuisines. Here, the snakes are also made into wine and brave tourists can be seen sampling this unusual drink. Tourists are also given an opportunity to watch the snakes being skinned and cooked into various cuisines. The most popular snake that’s being served in the village restaurants is a cobra. Aside from cooking its meat into 10 different dishes, its beating heart is poured into a glass with wine. Locals believe that drinking this wine can bring them good health.