As we get closer to the new year or Tet I always collect stories about culture and food so if you have any please send them in!
Lunar New Year will be upon us soon!
Because we are entering the Year of the Rat we decided at Peace and Freedom to ask folks about some of their best rat (and Tet) stories. Several people spoke fondly about eating rat and the consensus us that “the best rat is rice-fed rats.” In places like Vietnam and China rats share their homes with the rice fields and eat plenty of the succulent grain. Unlike many “city rats” the rice-fed animals are chubby, tasty and disease free!
Another group of stories includes stories of wild pigs.
A friend in Texas told me the other day he would spend the weekend hunting wild pigs with a rifle. That same day, a former U.S. Army Ranger told me he hunted pigs with dogs and didn’t use firearms to prevent accidentally killing a dog. The Ranger jumps on the cornered pigs and KNIFES them!
I told the story of the Ranger hunting with dogs to a Vietnamese man who said, “The best way is to use the dogs and the gun. Then kill the dogs! They taste better than pigs!”
Above: A Saigon food vendor.
At our first Tet event this year my wife and I each had a bowl of Chao Long, or innards with rice porridge. This is a delicious Saigon street favorite.
We passed on the Tiet Canh, which is traditional blood soup. It’s normally made with duck’s blood (tiet canh vit) or sometimes with pig’s blood (tiet canh heo).
Vietnam Seizes Snakes
January 25, 2008
Customs officials in Vietnam have discovered a ton of live snakes on a plane.
The illegal cargo, on board a Thai Air flight from Bangkok, was hidden inside 60 ice boxes marked “fresh fish”.
“Who knows what would have happened if they had broken out and crawled around the plane when it was flying?” said Dao Van Lien, head of customs at Hanoi airport.
“It’s an amazing number of snakes,” Mr Lien added, explaining that there were too many for his staff to count.
The non-venomous rat snakes may have been destined for restaurant kitchens in China or Vietnam, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Many died on the journey but the survivors are now at the Wild Animal Rescue Centre, near Hanoi.
Slaughtered rats are grilled at Dinh Bang village, 20 km (12.5 miles) outside Hanoi, January 24, 2008. People of Dinh Bang village eat rats as well as other kinds of meat from animals such as pigs, cows, chickens or rabbits. One kilogram of slaughtered rats costs 50,000 dong. ($3.10).