Lately I’ve realized how many pictures of food I’ve taken. But I can’t help it! It’s all so good! It’s not all Vietnamese food either. There are so many choices in food here in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh including Japanese, Indian, French, and American, etc! So I’m dedicating this post entirely to food. Because let’s be real.. who doesn’t like talking about food?!
So below is a picture of what I eat for lunch on a normal day. This consists of rice, tofu, vegetables, and soup (and a finished ice coffee, which don’t be fooled, is very different from American coffee. Dare I say even better?!) This is a typical lunch because 1. It is delicious 2. It is convenient. As seen in the picture I’m eating and doing homework. This is because where I get this meal is located in a cafe about 20 steps out my door. So it’s a great place to get a good meal and do homework.
Below is a picture of field crabs covered in young rice (yes, that green stuff is some form of rice, and no I don’t know why it’s called young rice. That’s just the direct translation!) But these little field crabs are too small to pull the meat out, so instead we eat them whole. Yes, shell and all! These guys were not one of my favorite meals. Although the shells were cooked to be pretty soft, it was still a shell. So I probably won’t do this again. But I won’t complain. I love seafood!
This picture is of the very popular hot pot! To the left is my friend Catherine’s roommate, Tuyet Anh, and to the right is my roommate Linh. That night the four of us (including Catherine of course!) went out for hot pot! Apparently there are many types of hot pot, but we went for the seafood hot pot. How it works is they bring you the hot pot that has a burner underneath with some type of boiling soup/ water (unsure what?) in the middle and you pretty much cook the food yourself by pushing your seafood into the boiling liquid in the middle. It was really delicious. I can see why it’s so popular!
Below is a photo from my first experience with field crabs. Clearly not loving the little guys!
And this little pink, black and white Dalmatian looking fruit is dragon fruit! Is it in the United States? I don’t know, it very well could be! But I had never heard of or seen it before so I’m counting it as part of my Vietnamese food adventures. It doesn’t have much flavor but it’s so pretty and refreshing who could not love it?!
Last but very not least is sushi! There are lots of Japanese restaurants near where I’m living but this is the first time I’ve eaten sushi since being here and it will not be the last! It was so delicious! Maybe not so different from the states, but I don’t consider that a bad thing! I’ll always have a special place in my stomach for sushi! haha
That’s all for now! But I’m eating great food every day, so more to come!
So we’re a little over a month into the program and I think I can speak for everyone when I say time has flown by. Every week and every day is different here and it’s exciting yet extremely tiring at the same time. We’ve all been meeting new people and making new friends almost every day and the city is starting to feel homier. The last few weeks, we’ve spent a lot of time with my roommate and her best friends.
Sarah, Olivia and I have wanted to cook since the day we got here so one of my roommate’s best friends offered her kitchen to us last week. We went grocery shopping at a large supermarket on the way to her house and bought ground beef, hamburger buns, cheese, lettuce, Pringles …. Sarah cut the vegetables, chopped the garlic and onions and fried the hamburger patties. Olivia tossed a salad and made grilled cheese sandwiches for the vegetarians, and I seasoned the patties and got the hamburger buns ready. The dinner turned out delicious and everyone enjoyed our American dinner. We all ended up going to a Karaoke Bar and sang a mixture of American and Vietnamese songs and had a great time.
Last weekend, I got the chance to go to Vung Tau, a beach about two and a half hours away from Ho Chi Minh City with my roommate and her best friends. It was an awesome experience and I’m really glad I got to go. I got to see how the locals our age travel, how they live, how they eat and how they hang out. I was also able to have very interesting and insightful conversations about their culture and they were very curious about American culture as well.
It’s hard to believe that I have been in Vietnam for almost two months now! While I’ve missed my friends and family, I have really embraced life in Ho Chi Minh city; enjoying a cà phê đen đá in the park with my new Vietnamese friends, trying street food, and discovering my all time favorite Vietnamese meal: banh mi, and learning how to cross the crazy motorbike filled streets.
The past two weeks have been especially exciting, as I joined the CET group, met my classmates and our Vietnamese roommates. Our first lunch together, the CET students and the Vietnamese roommates, was a true testament to how well we all get along, as we enjoyed fresh sugar cane juice and chatted over bowls of noodles and beef.
My roommate is one of the sweetest, most helpful people I know. Her name is Thao and she is a recent college graduate, from the city of Quy Nhơn. We have fun listening to music together. She has introduced me to K-pop, a very popular music genre among the young Vietnamese, and I have shared some of my favorite classic rock tunes with her.
One of the things I look forward to most is my Vietnamese class. Co Dung, our Vietnamese teacher is the best! Her patience and reassuring smile has given me so much confidence, and after every class I hurry down to the campus café to practice by ordering my coffee and lunch in Vietnamese.
The first two weeks in Vietnam are almost over! Time here is already flying and we’ve barely begun! There are only three of us in this semester’s CET Vietnam program. There is me, Sarah from Massachusetts, Olivia from Maine, and Catherine from Texas. Although there are only three of us, I think we all feel very lucky because we’re all very close and get along great!
Along with the three of us in the program, we each have a Vietnamese roommate. My roommate’s name is Linh (see picture below.. that’s me and Linh! ) Linh goes to school at a university in the area and is always having me try local fruits and candies that she brings home. Having a Vietnamese roommate is great, they have all been so welcoming and eager to take us out and help us to get out and experience life like the Vietnamese! The picture below is from dinner a few nights ago when the roommates took us to a restaurant where we sat on the ground and ate some local food.
Monday Catherine, Olivia and I went to the American War Remnants Museum, or as we know it at home the Vietnam War. Seeing this museum was a really rewarding and educational experience. As anything goes, there is more than one side to everything. Seeing this museum showed the Vietnamese perspective of the war that you can’t easily find at home. The content, photos and displays were extremely heavy, and it was hard to not get emotional for the inhumanity that was displayed during this war. This museum also showcased the suffering that many Vietnamese are still experiencing from this war due to the ongoing affects of Agent Orange. It was extremely tragic. I’m extremely grateful for the experience of seeing this museum, and I’m also extremely grateful for the forgiving nature of the Vietnamese that seems to be deeply rooted within their culture.