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Travel Log: Vietnam, Part V – “Mekong Delta Delicacies” (18 October 2009)

February 18, 2010

While in Paris you might want to try a pastry from a small cafe near the Eiffel tower or have fish and chips in a pub while you are in London.  When I was in Vietnam there were some things that I really wanted to try that are specific to Vietnam and southeast Asia and I found two of them in the Mekong Delta.

The experience I was looking forward to trying the most was snake wine, which is rice wine infused with snakes. The preferred snake tends to be venomous, but don’t worry the venom is supposed to be broken down by the alcohol. You will also see the occasional scorpion thrown in with the snakes. Snake wine is believed to reinvigorate a person and I wanted to see if that was true.   Ask Darren, I was stoked about it. I didn’t want to try the pre-bottled commercial ones, I wanted to try homemade snake wine in a small village somewhere.  When I first found my ideal snake wine it was in small hut on the side of the river (the snake wine is pictured).

Snake Wine

Loc warned me that his first time and only time drinking it ended with him puking minutes after he drank it.  Now Loc is a Fraternity brother, which means we did our fair share of drinking in college, so if he threw up I knew that it had to be worse than Everclear or 151. To be honest I never pictured it to be that dark brown, like poop water, or  for it contain 50 plus different snakes stacked on top of each other and that dark brown sediment at the bottom, which probably comes with aging.  Loc convinced me not to do it. I ended up listening to him and chickening out. I am lame I know. I don’t really regret it because I had plenty of homemade wine minus the snake that was very good.

The another thing that I really wanted to try that I found in the Mekong Delta was a durian.  A durian is popular in southeast Asia and is apparently called the “King of Fruit” due to its overpowering smell. There are actually places, like your hotel, which will have no durian signs and it is even banned from some public places due to the smell.  So, why would I want to try a durian?  It is simple, I just wanted to see what the hype was all about.

Durians

The vendor I bought the durian from sliced the fruit for me, and by the way durians aren’t cheap.  Inside each section contains the seeds which are surrounded by the flesh.  People say that if you can get over the smell then it is actually very good.  The flesh was creamy, soft and a little sticky. Someone people believe the sweet flavor is akin to villain pudding, I on the other hand did think that the flesh was soft and a little sweet and sticky but also found it to have a pungent garlicy flavor. In the end I found the garlic flavor off putting and couldn’t finish the durian. The garlic flavor could have been the smell, I am not sure. After awhile I just realized that I did not want anything more do with it.  I left half of the durian on the the side walk for any hungry passerby. The durian was gift that kept giving because the aftertaste stayed with me the whole day. My attempts to get rid of the aftertaste with multiple beers, Vietnamese coffee and tea failed.

Durian being prepared

Flesh of a Durian

Overall it was a good experience.  My next few blogs will be about the Mekong Delta. Stay tuned.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. A fan permalink
    February 28, 2010 7:18 PM

    while I commend your adventurous spirit, I am relieved that you heeded the warning about a venomous drink that makes you throw up! However eatting something that is banned from hotels because of its rancid smell, I hope you held your nose!

  2. September 1, 2010 2:13 AM

    nice…. that snake is very interesting

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