Since I just posted a review of Fuschia Dunlop's new book on eating in China, it seems apropos to include this posting on Andrew Zimmern's show on Vietnam. Zimmern has a show on the Travel Chanel on bizarre food experiences and travels. My sister Tasha pointed me to a segment that was taped in and around Hanoi. You can watch parts of the Vietnam segment on YouTube. A recap of the show is below:
- Snake village and snake food being cooked
- Hanoi street food, pho and civet coffee (the coffee beans that go through the intestinal track of the civet)
- Hanoi cha ca la vong restaurant and Highway 4 restaurant of 'exotic' things like roasted sparrow (my mom ate them when she was young)
- Hanoi old quarter and home cooking (snails, silkworms, eel) – check out the luxe kitchen!
- High-tech fish sauce making with concrete vats, sterile but interesting
- Ha Long Bay
He makes it seem wacky and weird and goes out of his way to say that snake is a delicacy, but is fish sauce bizarre? Bill Daley at the Chicago Tribune just recently wrote a short piece encouraging readers to find cool uses for fish sauce. How bizarre is that? Not really. There's lots of regular food that Vietnamese people eat and I wish that a little more time was devoted to that. But then, the show wouldn't be called bizarre, right?
I'm sure if an Asian person were to do a show on bizarre western foods, that may include Roquefort cheese and risotto, which would be described as bad, undercooked chao (jook).