An email yesterday asked when I was going to finally start eating something more interesting than every day Vietnamese food, more specifically something along the lines of dog. Sorry everybody…some foods just aren’t even remotely palatable to me and most likely will never grace my dinner table. A barbecue dish that woofed or meowed in a former life just isn’t going to happen here.
I have dabbled in the weird, for me at least, with fertile duck eggs and animal innards, but those items are not really out of the ordinary here. Even most of the chicken over here repulses me to the point where my tastebuds convulse when I am confronted with a unappetizing rubbery chunk of bone, skin, gristle and fat that has been hacked out of the bird with little care.
When I set out on this food journey, my intention was to bring meals that an ordinary people like me might seek out and eat without too much hand wringing. I figure I am pretty representative of the average person out there looking for something different than the usual western fare but not so different as to annihilate any of our western sensibilities.
Since I am the one eating this stuff, I do want it to be somewhat edible. I am not looking for any shock factor here and don’t want to eat dog meat or bull testicles just to make a name for myself. In the end this is just one guy’s food journey over a year’s time and the somewhat strange experiences surrounding the meals that only Vietnam can deliver. And yes. at times even the mainstream is enough for me with those fatty pieces of pork, congealed pig blood, and other assorted oddities.
Back home most Vietnamese food is soup or simple noodle dishes. My hope all along is to bring everyone a sampling of the depth and variety that is the cuisine over here. Maybe that will inspire someone to seek out Vietnamese food one night rather than a steak. I doubt dog meat will show this food in a positive and inspirational light.
Help me spread the word out that Vietnamese food is amazing, fresh and chock full of flavor and most of the time not scary at all with the exception of things that used to cluck in a former life.
P.S. I accidentally ate dog fifteen years ago when I visited Saigon. Trust me, it’s nothing to write home about.