Having been in Vietnam for one month, I learned quite a lot from their culture and lifestyle. Each time I found out something new, I always thought how bizarre it would be for western culture to witness things that I have. Since I love discovering and adapting to new countries, I have paid even more attention to Vietnamese habits.
Crazy for the West, Normal For the East
I have learned and experienced a few things that I knew people in my country would find disgusting and mental over one month of travels. What we think is weird fort hem, they think it’s normal. What they think it’s weird, we think it’s normal. I guess it kind of makes sense. Some Vietnamese have wooden “mattresses”. Imagine how your back would hurt sleeping on it one night, not to mention sleeping on it your entire life!
Snakes Are Yummy
Since I am against animal cruelty and am really trying to eat as little animals as possible, I do not support the violent deaths of animals. Luckily, I haven’t seen locals killing a snake, but I have seen videos of locals, who literally bit off a part of the snake. They also like to make snake alcohol beverages. One of them is snake wine, which is made from rice wine and a snake, of course. The venom is not dangerous, because the ethanol destroys it. Historically, it has been used as a medicine and today it is still known as an aphrodisiac.
Do you like it dry or juicy?
As wrong as it sounds, so does it taste. I knew there were places in the world where they eat bugs. I had never thought I will ever be in one of such places, which is why I had no other choice but to try the specialty. Of course, I chose the smallest and the least ugly one. The taste was actually kind of good. When I tell this story, I always say it has a taste of burnt eggs, it’s only more crunchy and without taste. Full of proteins, though!
Dogs May Appear on the Menu
Southeast Asia has a serious problem with dogs. People don’t have money for their own health, so it makes sense that they can’t really take care of their dogs, too, which means dog castration or sterilization is a mission impossible. Consequently, there is a very high number of stray dogs and an even bigger number of puppies. Some of them find a home and nice owners, but some of them get mysteriously stolen. Most of the times they become food for those who can not afford to buy better quality meat. Sometimes you can even see dog meat on the menu in a restaurant.
Please do know that I had a really hard time taking the picture below, but I said to myself that maybe it will be for a good reason. To aware a wider audience that people in some countries still eat dogs in the 21st century, because they can not afford to buy quality meat. I have spoken to many locals and most of them said they don’t eat dogs, but each of them knew someone who does. Most of them feel the same about dogs as we – they see them as pets. However, they treat them with less respect, since they are stray dogs, steal food and carry diseases.
Isn’t Meat Supposed to Be in the Freezer?
Not in Vietnam. Their local markets are usually in an open area under the shade, either inside a smaller building or under the sunshade. They sell meat on the tables without any packaging or antibacterial spaces. No ice and no freezers. If you’re lucky, you can find some sellers, which use homemade fans that blow on the meat in order to keep the flies away.
There Is Only Space for Two on the Motorbike
Yeah right. You can see an extended family on one motorbike, including little babies. Helmets? No need for that. At least not in the countryside, but in the cities, where it gets really crowded, they usually wear them. One of the interesting scenes besides the upper ones were also dead pigs tied in the back seat of the bike or 20 chickens tied in front of the bike. Some scenes you just can’t forget.