SAMPLING THE STREETS
Having been blown away by the amazing food at Lanterns we decided on hitting up their walking street food tour run by restaurant staff. Meeting at the restaurant, we set off with our guide ‘Ugly’ (we're not making this up, we swear), who supplied us with a bottle of water before taking us out into the warm sun to sample some of amazing Nha Trang specialties. We started the tour with a warning. If the police popped past it was important to stand up straight away and to hold your bowl up with you, apparently even in a country where there are no rules, there are still some legalities. Most of the street food stalls don’t pay their government taxes and therefore what they’re doing is essentially illegal.
Our first visit was to a very sweet Vietnamese lady who whipped us up a traditional rice noodle salad. Unlike the normal soaked rice noodles, these were hard and crispy, slightly softened by the chili sauce and oils. Put together with green mango, a beef jerky style meat and a quails egg, the dish was a great mix of crisp, spicy and salty. We'd never eaten quails eggs before so it was a unique experience.
Our next stop was to visit a gruff yet witty Banh Xeo lady cooking up a storm on a small stove with little grooves in them. Within a few minutes she had made a rice flour pancake filled with lip smacking seafood. We were lucky enough to try a little tapioca dumpling that was essentially a dumpling with crunchy shrimp inside, a true delight to the taste buds.
Without ruining the experience, we continued on to several street food stores and had some truly amazing dishes usually prepared and cooked within a few minutes. The simplicity of the dishes, yet the complex flavours and textures were mind blowing. The food truly is a credit to the Vietnamese people, it’s proof that you only need a little, to create a lot.
The tour went for about three hours and was such a unique window into the lives of the average Vietnamese person. An experience well worth it, filled with cultural interactions and delicious food.
ARM & A LEG: WHAT IT COST US
2 HOUR WALKING TOUR $9USD
For 200, 000 VND you will get a fully guided tour of Nha Trang, all local food delicacies paid for, a bottle of water (you'll need it) and a beer or soft drink on completion. Insanely good value considering you get a close look at local life and enjoy the experience of eating with locals.