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« Hanoi: Van Phuc and Le Mat Part 1 | Main | Hanoi: Banh Cuon, Bia Hoi, and what to do in Hanoi at 430am...... »

Wednesday, 16 April 2008



Tour guides/Bus Drivers in South East asia have it bad. In europe they eat what we eat, same as China and Japan.. but not in SEA.

On our tour of Thailand we had 9 course meals and they had fried rice. Since it was just my family and the tour guide we always had the tour guide come eat with us cause the restaurant always gave too much food!


Hi Kirk,
Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Great pictures. I have to hand it to you and the missus, you sure do go for the exotic eats. More venturesome than I'd be for sure. Snake? Sparrows? Ummm....

Wandering Chopsticks

I came up on Bat Trang from the river so I walked through the narrow streets of the old village. Did you see the clumps of coal they left to dry on the walls? Pretty cool.

I didn't get to Le Mat. Didn't want to. Snakes creep me out. So what does snakeskin taste like?

Wandering Chopsticks

BTW, you did a good thing by feeding your guide. Most people don't think about that and some of the places tourists go to, the local person can't afford to go so that's something they have to take from their pay.


wow thanks for that review. I think the banquet is not for the faint hearted! I would have probably been interested in trying 1 snake dish ... probably the la lot or the spring rolls. Great pictures! I guess its something you do once when you're a tourist :) It was very kind of you to feed your guides.


though I've never travelled to Vietnam or other SE Asian places, never thought about feeding the guides, great tip!


This is going to be a difficult meal to re-create in the states. The Vietnamese markets here have a lot of stuff, but i have never seen whole snake. Thanks for the heads up on the snake wine. I have seen these bowls for sale before and thought they were made by machine. You are right, I will never view it the same. Reccomended reading: "the unknown craftsman".


Hi clayfu - We were flabbergasted when watching tourists and guides be so buddy-buddy, then brushed off during lunch like the "hired-help".......

Hi Stephen - You know.....the snake thing is kinda touristy, but it was fun. Those sparrows were just plain delish! I'm glad you're enjoying the posts...thanks for the kind words.

Hi WC - We got a ton of photos in Bat Trang, including the charcoal on the walls, people recycling used clay, and off a husband and wife team making planters, that looked like back breaking work. I think I'll do a photo album on my sidebar. You learn so much about people and places by eating with them.....and for someone making $40-$50 dollars a month ($30 of which goes to rent), a $10 meal is indeed out of reach. The snake skin is light and crunchy...mild in flavor...chicharron without the greasiness....

Hi Rachel - I think you'd do well with 9 courses of does taste kinda like chicken.

Hi Kat - It gets kinda obvious when you figure out how much they make in a month.

Hi Chris - I've had snake before in the US....and it was terrible...I think you'd have some major liability issues with a market carrying live poisonous snakes! ;o)

ed (from Yuma)

Great post again. Really enjoyable.

Good idea to do the photo album with a link.

Jeff C

Kirk, glad you and your missus are back safe and sound. Wow, Hanoi Rocks! (I've been waiting sooo long to write that in a comment!) I'm going to take what you said about the tour guides to heart and try to incorporate that when we do the tour thing, too. Though most of the tours we've been on, the guides won't eat with us and we've asked them to sit down with us. Love the pottery pics. The snake stuff, I can do without but I hear its supposed to increase your Yang or is it Yin (whichever is the male component). So if your missus ate the snake heart then you and the missus probably had an amorous evening. Ha Ha . Take care


oh my goodness, cobra heart?! and "still bouncing around a bit"...oh my, you are treading in dangerous fooding territory, heehhehe ^_^. am loving all the posts on your trip!


What a feast....the missuss is a brave woman to down the snake's heart. So what happen to the porcupine? ;-)


Great ideas. Thanks for sharing your trip and all that food!


Hi Ed - I think I'll do that when I get me act together....

Hi Jeffrey - LOL! You crack me up.... I think it's much easier when you hire private guides.....As for Yang or Yin....we'll leave that be. ;o)

Hi Kathy - was a great trip. And yep, that heart was still can see the little trail it made as it moved.

Hi Billy - We didn't need toothpicks! ;o)

Hi Shellie - Thanks.




Hot damn. Now that's going for the gusto, still-twitching cobra heart and all. And I'm tickled that it was the Missus who went for the heart.

And thank you again for all the working-folks photos. I'll be looking forward to seeing the full gallery of them. It's like you're doing a Studs Terkel of Vietnam, and it's beautiful.

The little roast birdie not only looked delicious, but made me think "Hey! Perfect portion size!" :-D


Uh huh! I knew it, cobra heart...and somehow I knew also that it'd be the Missus who'd be eating it! The snake bones and the snake skin looks amazing...your description makes it sound yummy.


Hi mizducky - Yes, sparrows....they are perfectly portioned! In the end, we found all of the sights wonderful, but it is the people that stick in our mind.

Hi Elmo - Man, you're a regular Nostra-whats-his-name! Have we become so predictable? Snake Bones, skin, and the La Lot were by far the best dishes.

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