I like a good adventure, except when it involves my stomach. That’s when “intrepid me” meets “queasy me”, and “queasy me” wears the pants in that relationship. All adventure comes to a halt.
When I took a cooking class in Thailand, I admitted that I am no foodie. I like my staples, but I have been trying to branch out along the way. I never did try guinea pig in Peru, but I have been consuming some suspect meats since the start of this trip. The first day I arrived in Thailand, I bellied up to the nearest sidewalk stall, and chowed down on some of Bangkok’s sketchiest street meat. I figured if I was going to get sick on this trip, might as well get it out of the way early. No sense prolonging the inevitable.
But it was delish.
In Rach Gia in southern Vietnam, I ate some boiled blubbery mess because it was the only place open near my hotel.
Not so delish.
Some days though, we crave normal. And on this day, I had a hankering for something akin to meat and potatoes. The culinary equivalent of a safety blanket. So when I spotted a Hanoi restaurant spilling over with westerners, I figured I had happened upon the Vietnamese version of Applebee’s — bland predictable, and…safe. I had visions of giant burgers and super-sized fries, chocolate shakes and apple pies A la mode no less. “Queasy me” was about to become “greasy me.”
It was just what I craved.
I sat down, flipped open the menu, and this is the first thing I saw…
Thankfully the menu was devoid of any photos. I knew that they served dog meat in Vietnam, but this was my first encounter with “Thit Cho” on a menu.
Perhaps the bar across the street from the restaurant should have been a warning sign…
The rest of the menu didn’t look too promising either…
Not a cheeseburger slider or mozza stick in sight. Although the pig’s ovary did have a nice ring to it, I passed on that one. And since I prefer my intestines large as opposed to the small variety on offer, I opted for the safest choice on the menu – chicken fried rice.
Not so safe after all.
See those shiny white bits there? That’s bone. Chicken bone. Or perhaps chicken beak. I’m not entirely sure. At this point I was questioning if it was even chicken I was eating at all. And although I never did see a “Management Reserves the Right to Substitute Cocker Spaniel” sign, one can never be certain in these parts.
Sometimes, when you crave normal, life hands you the exact opposite. And a reluctant ”intrepid” you become.
What strange foods have you seen on a menu? Have you tried any?