Thursday, August 12, 2010 exotic lunch of elephant ear fish..,etc

Singaporeans are generally seasoned travellers. Our Singapore passport is a highly regarded travel document to most anywhere in the world. But the holder of that valued passport may not be your typical well-behaved and law abiding Singaporean especially when visiting Third World countries.

Over the years, as a most seasoned traveller myself, I have seen a much better and overall improved image of my fellow countrymen abroad...when they travel. They are good listeners when the guides take the trouble to explain certain aspects of their history or culture. Asking polite and intelligent questions make the job of the guides more challenging and fun. Patient and always mindful of our status as an educated and cultured people...they are generally well-liked and well regarded by local tour companies.

This is a good example of what I have described above in my introduction.
You must be wondering why I'm reflecting thus.
Well, just before we boarded the
coach at the Saigon Airport, two members of our party could not locate their luggage.
They were somehow misplaced or misdirected or could even be wrongly taken out
by a fellow traveller from elsewhere.
All their personal belongings and stuff were in the two separate bags.
The group waited for them while the matter was urgently tended to by the Airport staff.
Unk Dicko advised them to keep calm and allow the Airport some time to solve the problem.
I remembered my former neighbour ( Siang Lim Park )Vin's own experience which she spoke about by email and Facebook, quite recently too. She had completely misplaced her laptop at the Airport. On realising it, she reported the loss and feared for the worst.
But just before she left Vietnam for her home in USA, they located her notebook and drove all the way to personally return it to her!
How thankful she was...I'm certain if she read this she'll be able to express it better!
So, despite the bags still missing, our people kept cool and the journey proceeded as planned. No fuss. No Hollywood drama.

Here's Tony describing to us what took place around this Mekong Delta
during the Vietnam War from the 60's to 1975. Behind him sat Colin the
other local guide.

Not too far away, we noticed a modern suspension bridge
across the the other end of the river.

We arrived at Tan Thach Village on Thai Son Island. By then we
were all pretty famished and was prepared to eat anything...well

D2 pointing to something that perhaps we could have for Lunch.

Oh No, not that water buffalo. The water buffalo is one of the most
treasured animals in the agricultural context of a Vietnamese community...
although we've been told ( and I've checked it's true ) the Vietnamese eat
almost anything that moves. There's a good explanation for that...( Later ).
The main dish for Lunch is this famous dish called " elephant ear fish".
It's a local river fish. I've no idea why it is so named.
But it is exceptionally good!
The texture of the fish tasted very smooth and
sweet. It was served plain without any gravy.
That was a very good idea as you
get to really taste how good this fish is.

Next up was a "popiah" style dish.
The lady in purple demonstrated how
it was to be done with all the garnishings ready.

She was quite an expert on this.
She must be anyway!

D2 holding the first sample of the finished product. There is
a sauce you can dip into for this popiah.
Then being the only Owl at my table...the ladies goaded me to try
and make a popiah myself. "Huh me ah? I only eat, don't know how
to do these things lah!" But under pressure..die, die must try.
The result?
The first complete disaster of Mekong delta that day...everything fell
apart...and that's why no photo exist of it, unlike the one held by D2.
Embarassed? No, we all had a good laugh at Owl's expense.
The rest of the dishes followed.
Spring rolls with glutinous rice, vermicelli with shreded chilli, fried chicken
and pork. And other delicacies.
For drinks we had a variety of choices.
Now that we have regained our energy with so much good food and in the
company of such nice fellow travellers..we were ready for whatever was ahead
of us.


Anonymous said...

I just returned from visiting Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Our tour group from Hawaii got to visit the same Mekong River boat ride and tried the elephant ear fish. I agree with your comments that the fish was tasty and delicious.

unk Dicko said...

Hi Anon,
Thanks for sharing here. Did they prepare the fish in the same way as I had described?
Yes,it was really super good..the fish.
Btw, which part of Hawaii are you from? I've been there!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dick
Enjoyed your blog on Vietnam , your right about the Elephant Ear fish. I have tried it many times. My wife of 45 years is Vietnamese, I go to Vietnam once a year and have for a lot of years.
I lived in Singapore for 4 years in the late 70s. # 20 Li Po Ave. Teachers Park. Loved it.Always ate at a little open cafe along Sembawang Rd.Beautiful country,city wish I could go back.

Unk Dicko said...

Hi Neal,
Thanks for sharing your likes and your memories. It's great that you found that a tasty fish dish. Where are you located today?

Neal said...

Hi Dick,
I'm from Pennsylvania.
We just got home last week from another trip to Vietnam , had a good trip . we went to Chaing Mai Thailand nice place. My granddaughter and I got to pet tigers there at Tiger kingdom.
I was wondering is Sentosa Island built up very much ,we always hard a great time there when we lived in Singapore.

Unk Dicko said...

Hi Neal,
Thanks for dropping by here. Am glad you had a good experience in Vietnam and Sawadee land ( Thai ). Sentosa is now a top draw for many visitors to our island. I'm not sure when was the last time you were here in S'pore. But Sentosa has been very well developed with many attractions including Universal Studio theme park, the Sentosa Resort world casino among the top draws.
Perhaps it's time for you and your family to visit again?
I'll be happy to say hello to you!