If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, check out Rick Stein’s Vietnam segment available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. He does the highlights in Vietnam in the north (Hanoi, Ha Long Bay) and south (Saigon and Mekong Delta) so it’s a nice introduction to or perhaps as review of traveling in the country.
Who is Rick Stein? He’s a British chef and author of works like Rick Stein's Complete Seafood, one of my go-to reference works whenever I need step-by-step guidance on dealing with ingredients from the sea. Stein is not Anthony Bourdain in biting wit and sarcasm and definitely not addicted to the bizarre like Andrew Zimmern. Stein is gentle in his approach to Vietnam and tries to bridge the turbulent Vietnam War years to the modern Vietnam today, which is calmer and more modern times. That’s what his BBC audience is interested in. There may be yawner moments if the Vietnam War doesn’t touch you, but Stein also has snippets of food preparation, processing, and everyday life that is quite interesting. I was about to discount the show at the opening footage of the war and rice paddies but Stein pulled me in quickly.
On YouTube, you’ll find the show in 6 clips (the last one is kind of a throw away). I’ve provided a drill-down below so you can jump in when you want. Many thanks to bloggers Graham Holiday of Noodlepie and Cathy Danh of Gastronomyblog (she debuts in part3) for pointing me to this Vietnam segment of Stein’s Far East Odyssey.
Part 1: Mekong River, fishing farms (Vietnamese aquaculture) on the river
Overview of Vietnam with a focus on the mighty Mekong. Stein pronounces Mekong as “Meekong” which I block out. “Maykong” please. He visits fisheries on the Mekong river. He cooks a fish dish based in his kitchen. He relates the Vietnam War to Vietnam today with old film footage, and references to Vietnam War movies The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now. The first segment clip is at the beginning of this post.