Monday, July 04, 2016

MENU goes East - A Vietnamese village; a visit to a home and supper with a family

Our Vietnamese Odyssey came to its close with a family meal in the country. We finished the day in the village, visiting an historic house and then enjoyed a delicious meal, which we helped to make. A lovely experience
Next, we were taken to the oldest house in the village. It is completely original and gave us a chance to see how people have lived for the last couple of hundred years
The front of the house is made from teak and other hardwoods and is open to the air. We were welcomed with a pot of cold tea
This was served by the owner of the house, the last surviving child of a large family. It was very refreshing. Through our guide who translated, she told us of her life with her family
Next to the old house is a modern villa which her father built
The centre of the old house is a shrine to their ancestors. At either end are the living quarters
She showed us their family tree and explained their relationship to Ho Chi Minh
The shrine is full of embellished ornaments, joss sticks, fruit offerings and pictures of the deceased members of the family
A blessing bowl
Then it was time to go and help cook supper. We were to learn how to make the green pawpaw salad. These are the implements they used. Lynne did find some of the vegetable shredders in a Hanoi supermarket; they were very cheap and she finds using them very good to use. They shred vegetables and fruit into long thin strands. And using the other, crimped, end, there are a vegetable peeler, a grater, a small mandolin cutter and a chip cutter. They cost about R10. Also on the table were lemongrass, garlic, chilli and herbs, fish sauce and carrot to use with the green pawpaws. We needed plastic gloves
We set to peeling the pawpaw
Shredding it. Everyone took turns
The pawpaw goes into boiling water for 2 minutes and is stirred well with chopsticks
Some grated carrot is add at the last minute; it is strained and returned to the bowl
Sugar is added, a rather alarming amount, about 15 teaspoons and the vegetables are mixed well until all the sugar melts
It is then squeezed dry, fish sauce and the other ingredient are added and it is ready to eat
We began our meal with chicken soup with vegetables
Fried rice paper rolls and the green pawpaw salad
washed down with Ha Long beer
You can see from our faces that is was very hot, but we had a lovely family style meal together with David Bjarnason and his family from Iceland
Small skewers of meat from the barbecue
The small kitchen
Pandanus leaf wrapped prawns
Deep fried fish. Was it from the fish pond?
Morning glory braised in a pot. It tasted rather like sprouting broccoli, but needed a lot of chewing
For dessert we had small fat bananas and other fruit
Time to bid goodbye and give warm thanks to our hosts for a really lovely country meal
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016
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