Nha Trang / by Marek Charytonowicz

Nha Trang was originally planned as a purely beach destination for me and as such it didn’t disappoint. Even the weather was good despite autumn and raining season. I can’t say I’ve seen much here as the two days I had were spent on the beach, under a palm leaf umbrella disgustingly unproductively sipping a coconut. That means I haven’t seen much in the city, taken the famous cable car that joins the city with a nearby island and is supported by six pillars that at night are lit in shapes of Eiffel Towers or taken any tours which sounded worth it. It is however the first place where I genuinely tried street food and liked it.

It is also a place where I find the famous Vietnamese birds nest soup. The ‘restaurant’ is actually a road side hangar with loads of tiny plastic chairs inside and several plastic buckets outside housing live seafood.

The menu includes: bird’s nest, shark, frog, eel, various fish, clams, mussels, oysters, shrimp, prawns, crabs, lobsters, squid, sea cucumbers, snails, but also deer, wild boar, sucking pig, chicken and beef. Not to mention various ways of cooking, grilling, frying or stewing the aforementioned with different side salads. Most of the seafood is still crawling or swimming in plastic buckets outside for a customer to choose so freshness is guaranteed although for me seeing those animals makes it harder to want them on a plate. Especially snails, crabs and lobsters. Weird but I don’t eat things I have some emotional attitude towards, especially dogs, whales and lobsters.

The soup is expensive in local terms and comes in a small bowl accompanied by small plate of something rubbery and white. I don’t quite know what that is (more online research needed) but I’m supposed to stir it into the soup.

The whole thing tastes good, very good. Slightly fishy, slightly rubbery texture but good and very filling. I’m not sure why it’s considered a delicacy here but then I’m not sure how one can drink salted lemon juice either so no right to judge here. I do wish I could eat a few dinners in one go as frogs also sound very tempting. But that will have to wait till Saigon…