Vietnam is a heaven for food junkies with a variety of flavors and specialties. However, some of the dishes are seen weird, and even adventurous tourists find it hard to try out. It is also said that one of the weirdest foods is also found in unique and diverse varieties. However, there are some unusual foods in Vietnam that you may find yourself not brave enough to try them. In this article, we will share with you the list of the ten most awkward dishes of Vietnam, which cause a strong impression for any tourists across the world. Tourism is a major player in Vietnam’s economy too. It is well known for its natural beauty and rich heritage. Some of them are creepy and weird to foreign visitors but to the locals, they are considered to be appetizing. Here below are the top 10 unusual foods in Vietnam that may scare visitors.
Unusual Foods to Eat in Vietnam
1. The Blood Pudding (Tiet Canh)
Tiet Canh (or blood pudding) is a fresh dish, of which a major part of the ingredients in the blood of an animal. In order to prevent premature coagulation, the blood will be mixed with fish sauce or dilute salt water. After that, the chopped innards of animals or meat will be added to the dish to enhance blood coagulation. If you are trying this bizzare food in Vietnam, add some roasted peanuts and chopped herb as lemon, mints, etc. This weird dish is hardly seen in any other place in the world. Due to the weirdness of preparing the process and the scary look of the dish, the blood pudding is certainly listed in the topmost scary dishes all over the world.
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2. Orchid Tree Salads
The orchid tree salad is a unique dish to eat in Vietnam. In the season of the orchid tree, the women always bring some orchid trees when returning home after a hard-working day. Many dishes include the orchid tree as the main material such as a steamed orchid tree with sticky rice, the orchid tree with bamboo sprout soup, or orchid tree salad.
3. Duck Embryo
As bizarre as it sounds, Duck Embryo is a fertilized duck egg that is about 15-20 days post-fertilization. The egg takes about 30-35 days to hatch, so it is pretty much halfway there already. This is believed to increase virility or like locals say “it is good for the Man!” and is considered unusual food in Vietnam.
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4. Cow Intestine Soup (Pha Lau Bo)
Cow intestine soup (Pha Lau Bo) is a dish very loved by locals. This bizarre food to eat in Vietnam is a combination of the culinary styles of the Vietnamese and the Chinese. Vietnamese people use the inner organs of the cow for more dishes instead of throwing away. To make magic happen, using salt and lemon to remove the bacteria, the cook washes all of the organs many times. To remove the pungent smell, ginger and wine also help in it. Then, to make noodle soup, the organs are cooked in milk. Finally, to serve the hungry Pha Lau lovers the cooks will chop the kidney, stomach, intestines, lungs, and heart.
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5. Nem Chua (Vietnamese Fermented Pork Roll)
Nem Chua is a favorite dish of many people, thanks to its special taste. This unusual food to eat in Vietnam is made of fresh pork, with “thính” (a kind of Vietnamese spice made of rice), garlic, and chili. After being fermented in 3 days, Nem Chua is ready to serve. Nowadays, in some areas of Ha Noi, Nem Chua is also a dish to eat when drinking. To make the dish suitable for drinking, Nem Chua is grilled and fried. Due to its unique taste and smell, this dish is extremely attractive. On passing by, you may not have a look at the sign of the food stall, you may not observe other people eating, but you can smell the dish from a long distance.
Frog is a “less scary” food that is not only just a beer snack but Vietnamese also have it as a meal. We like to eat frogs that are small with long legs. This bizzare food to eat in Vietnam can usually be spotted in the Mekong Delta all year round, but the high season is in spring or during the rainy season. After skinning and gutting, the frog is then fried, steamed, or grilled and then served on the dining table. You can enjoy it with rice or just have a BBQ frog with lemon, salt, and pepper. Other than boiled or grilled frogs, you can choose to eat frog curry, frog porridge, or sauteed frog with lemongrass and chili.
7. Fermented Shrimp Paste
Fermented Shrimp paste is made of shrimp and salt. The fermenting process resorts to a special enzyme of the shrimp to create a special flavor. The fermented shrimp paste is an indispensable sauce in many bizarre Vietnamese dishes such as Bun dau mam tom (fermented shrimp paste with fried tofu and rice vermicelli). Some of the foreigners usually find this dish quite awkward and some cannot stand its smell. However, if you try the dish two or three times, you will fall in love with it.
8. Snake Dish
Vietnam, being a tropical country has a wide range of reptiles, especially snakes. However, the snakes used for food in Vietnam are only the Chinese cobra, Banded krait, and Chinese ratsnake. However, the image of the knife to kill the snake may be quite scary. Furthermore, the blood smell of the snake and the taste of wine is an unpleasant combination. Those are still big hindrances for the foreigners when trying this one of the weirdest foods in Vietnam.
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9. Sa Sung (Peanut Worms)
Because of its scary appearance, the peanut worms will make many people terrified. However, the dish from peanut worms is irresistible. The peanut worms are much bigger than other worms like coconut worms and their innards are mainly sand. They usually live in deep underground caves that can be used for food in Vietnam. This weird food in Vietnam is served with salt, chili, and lemon juice or marinated with salt and chili before being grilled.
10. Fried White Cricket
The fried white cricket is a favorite and an unusual dish of the Vietnamese. This dish is usually served with beer or wine. As the shrimps and crabs, the taste of the cricket is as delicious. Moreover, the white crickets are also believed to have the ability to cure ache, obesity, and Rheumatism. Compared to other species of crickets, the white cricket’s legs are white and they are much more delicious. This bizarre dish is also served with lemon leaves and chopped pork.
11. Rat Meat
Especially in the Mekong Delta, rat meat is another food that makes its home in the fields of the Vietnamese countryside. Rat meat is also yet another great example of the Vietnamese who are innovative and resourceful eaters. The rat that only eats the rice of the rice paddies is good for cooking, not every rat can be turned into food. First skin it and then steam, deep fry, grill, or make curry with this little rodent.
12. Dog and Cat Meat
Dog and cat meat is one of the favorite dishes among the Vietnamese. They have dishes such as boiled dog meat, dog sausage, grilled dog meat just to mentions a few. Many foreigners find this creepy food in Vietnam especially those who have dogs as their loyal pets in their home countries. “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”. As much as foreigners find the above dishes creepy and scary, the locals see them as specialties.
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13. Porcupine Meat
We did not get to try this one but we have heard great things about the porcupine dishes. Porcupine is a sought after delicacy in Vietnam. This popular unusual dish in Vietnam is a little hard to find in the cities but if you venture out into the rural areas you probably could get yourself a bowl of porcupine meat with various dipping sauces.
14. Bird’s Nest Soup
Bird’s nests are created by swiftlet, entirely out of the bird’s saliva. These nests are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Today, the swiftlets are encouraged to build their nests in artificially constructed concrete nesting houses. Even so, the bird’s nest is often prepared in the soup and still high in value. This most unusual food in Vietnam not only has high nutritional value and exquisite flavor but also represents a beautiful meaning of life, the sacrifice of parents for their children – it’s true for all kinds of beings.
Originated in the Philippines in the 17th century, Balut is a famous dish. It is now considered a national dish of the Philippines. It’s also said the origin is from Chinese’s “Maidan,” or “feathered egg.” It may sound sickening to eat a partially developed duck, but in many places such as Vietnam, this dish is considered a delicacy. The fertilized egg is eaten while the egg is still warm and boiled for about 25 minutes. The yolk portion of this weird food from Vietnam is described as rich and creamy with an overall mild taste.
So far we have discussed the unusual foods in Vietnam, which contains the proper information regarding all the famous strange foods in Vietnam. I hope you might have loved reading this article and if you love to know more about Vietnam then kindly head to our other articles as well which will help you to get knowledge about.