Friday, July 27, 2018

Ben Tre Mekong Delta Day Tour: Houses, Vietnamese Lunch and the Chicken Situation

So we have come to our most awaited part of the day trip.... the lunch. Yummy!

Lunch at this open-air restaurant in the middle of a network of moats and the bushes.

Although we had some snacks at the coconut candy and fruit cafe earlier, I was actually dying to eat lunch. Hungry! We were promised of course a local Vietnamese lunch, and Vietnamese is one of my favourite cuisines in the whole world, so I am very much looking forward. I cannot wait.

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Houses we passes by on the way to the restaurant. Most of these houses are made of concrete and have an open patio in front with columns.

More pictures of local houses with open patios in front with columns.

So for lunch, we were dropped off by our trike driver at the end of a narrow cemented road. The place is somewhere in one of the villages in the middle of Ben Tre's backyard. The road has ended and we were told to follow a dirt path. Hmm, that sounds exciting to me! I always like a bit of adventure, however low profile it may be.

As we walked on the dirt path we saw houses and how the locals lived. Some of the houses were small with thatched-roofing while many were cemented houses in pastel colours and similar facade designs. We noticed that the cemented houses have open patios with pillars in front which reminds me of colonnades in France and Italy. The parents and sister were very quick to point this out because although the houses were somewhat similar to the ones in the Philippines, the patio and columns facade is not.

My parent's house used to have a small rectangular patio with arches, but they have renovated and extended the house so this patio is not there anymore but is replaced with a much bigger patio on the other side of the house.

Daily life scenes in a village in Ben Tre.

A typical sight in Vietnam, graveyards in the backyard of houses.

Another unusual thing we noticed is the graveyards. On this day trip to Ben Tre Mekong Delta, we learned the Vietnamese tradition of burying their loved ones in their own backyard. Something too spooky perhaps for many, especially the superstitious and easily scared by ghosts Filipino, haha. I don't know why but Filipinos are easily scared of the dark and the unnatural. I am not the scaredy cat type so I thought this was quite funny.

So finally, we have arrived at our restaurant, and at first glance, we were pleased!

We were eating in a casually styled open-air restaurant with thatched roof and surrounded by a network of narrow moats with lots of lilies floating on it. It's beautiful, very locally oriented and an authentic Vietnamese place. Of course, who are we kidding here, they built this for the tourists *wink*.

Open restaurant for tourists in Ben Tre =)

We were quickly shown to our seats and the menu which consists of Vietnamese local food. The main dish for the lunch is the huge fried fish, I think it was a snapper. The way they presented the fish made me think of the preserved fishes in a science laboratory museum. They literally attach the cooked/fried fish to wooden stilts that support it on the table so all diners can see and inspect it from every angle. Presentation-wise, it was weird but kind of cool as well.

The idea is that we pick some meat of the fish and wrap this into the rice paper together with the greens, cucumber, some yellow veggie and rice noodles and then dunk it into the sauce. Hmm, this is actually my kind of food. I can seriously eat this for days and I will not be tired.

Speaking of which, I actually have some rice noodle wrapper in my kitchen cabinet which I similarly use and eat with shrimps or tofu. I love Asian food you know.

The huge snapper fish, deep fried and ready for us to pick and turn into a Vietnamese loempia. Lovely display isn't this? Not for the vegetarians and vegans though.

How you eat the fish with the other ingredients, greens, cucumber, rice noodle and rice wrapper. We were shown how to do it.

The finished product! And repeat the process again! Delicious with the sauce.

We were also served with chicken soup, vegetable fritters Vietnamese-style I guess, sauteed mix vegetables, some plump boiled shrimps, fried rice of course and chilled fresh pineapples for dessert. To be honest, it was quite enough and we were satisfied with the food served. I also ordered the local Vietnamese beer called Tiger, which after googling I found out is now partly owned by Heineken.

The lunch gave us the opportunity to speak to the 2 other couples who joined us on the trip. They were from Germany and Spain. The girl from Germany was vegetarian or vegan so she was given something else for the lunch.

I think vegetarians and vegans can eat well in Vietnam as many dishes don't have meat or can be eaten without meat (or meat products and by-products). You just have to mention this clearly to the server because the concept is relatively new to many.

Drink the local beer (although foreign owned now).

Vietnamese style of vegetable fritters (tempura style).

A warm little bowl of Chicken broth.

These are large and plump delicious shrimps.

After lunch, we had a little bit of downtime so I walked around the direct surroundings of the restaurant and this was when the sister and I saw the chickens roaming around the property. There was a hen and several roosters. Then all of a sudden, one of the roosters humped on the hen, then another rooster did, and then the other as well. It became like a premeditated concerted effort of the roosters hitting and humping on the poor hen, which was pressed down to the ground.

The whole scene before me somewhat gave me a bit of goosebump. If I were to translate what I have just seen to the human convention of things, the roosters looked like they were gangraping the hen?! Oh my goodness gracious, lol. I don't know how serious I should take this chicken situation but I had to laugh and cringe at the same time. #dilemma

Although the hen laid motionless while she was being picked and humped, I cannot help wonder on 2 things.

1) Why the hen did not run away?
2) Did the hen actually liked it? I know, it's borderline weird, haha.

Isn't the setting very nice? 

The poor hen. This was taken before she was gang-raped by the roosters.

Pictures before the storm, er I mean before the rooters picked on the poor hen.

Nevertheless, it's time to move on to the next activity of this Ben Tre Mekong Delta Day Tour. At this point we didn't know what's it going to be. Thus, stay tuned.

Travel Period: December 2016
Destination: Ben Tre, Southeast, Vietnam

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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