Welcome to Can Tho!
Finally, we all arrived in Can Tho! My Vietnamese friends said, “Tiger?” and we said, “Yes, we made it to hitchhiking in Vietnam! Why not?! Let’s drink Tiger!” (At that time, I couldn’t imagine what kind of special Vietnamese food I was going to eat later at my dinner table…)
Local experience in Can Tho!
We walked into the restaurant. It was a huge outdoor restaurant with lots of tables full of Vietnamese people! My french friends and I were the only foreigners there. I was so excited about having true local experience!
The Tiger lady
As soon as we sat at the big round table, a waitress in her tight Tiger Beer dress served a glass and a small bottle of Tiger for each of us. I looked around the restaurant. 99% customers at the restaurant are men. And all the girls who work there were wearing really tight tops and short skirts! Men are the ones who spend money, so I bet the owner of the restaurant hired young women to work there with very tiny clothes that everyone can see their body shapes. As a woman myself, I started to feel a bit uncomfortable to sit there. The smile on my face was gone. I thought it was the best to drink beer at this awkward moment.
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Southeast Asian way of drinking Beer
When I was about to pour beer into my glass, she stopped me and put one huge ice cube into my glass. ‘Beer with ice?’ Yes, drinking beer with ice is a typical way of drinking beer in Southeast Asia.
“One, two, three, Yo!”
A LOT OF TIGER = A LOT OF FUN?
When in Vietnam, do as Vietnamese do. My new Vietnamese friend taught us ‘Yo!’ to say instead of ‘Cheers!’. We said “Yo!” once, twice, three times, four… five……… I don’t even know how many times we said “Yo!”. WE DRANK A LOT OF TIGER. That’s for sure. We made conversations with limited vocabulary and we laughed over nothing. It was so much fun!
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My very first Special Vietnamese food
The Tiger lady kept bringing Tiger after Tiger. The waitresses kept bringing food after food. Looking all the food made me so hungry and I started digging the food. But I found something greenish gray food in the hot pot in the middle of the table…
All of sudden, I remembered what my new Vietnamese friend told me with his body language. He tried to explain about the food that we were going to have. He showed me the motion of his hands jumping on the table. Oh…”F…frog?” I wished that my guess was wrong. But.. he said “Yes! Frog!” “F…frog? Hahahahaha!” I was laughing but I really didn’t want to eat frogs!
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The Frog situation
I also remembered that my mom told me people ate frogs and grasshoppers in the past when there wasn’t enough food after the Korean war. So I decided to try frog…
If you ask me how the frog tastes like…
And the frog tasted….pretty good! I was actually surprised by the taste of the frog! It was softer and more delicious than chicken! But… I really couldn’t eat more because I couldn’t stop myself thinking about the green frog jumping around… Frogs are not something I would eat unless I had no food to eat to survive in the wild or something….
My second special Vietnamese food!
After my very first special Vietnamese food, I was craving for normal food so badly! When I was about to reach my chopsticks to fried noodles with seafood and vegetables, the waitress came with a new plate. When I looked it up, my breath almost stopped. I saw something really brown with scales… Something that I never want to see on my dinner table… By now, I think you know what I am talking about… Guess what was on the plate!
The Snake Situation
Yes, it was a cooked snake! Snake is the last thing I want to see on my dinner table… I don’t want to be rude to people who eat snakes but snakes looked… really really creepy. I was so glad I was already a bit tipsy… Thanks to the Alcohol, I managed not to scream in front of the table! I wished that my Vietnamese friends ordered something wrong. But when I looked at my friends.., they were so happy to see “the special food”.
Is snake healthy food?
When I was about to say I couldn’t eat snake to my Vietnamese friends, one of them already was putting a few pieces of snake in my bowl! Oh… I really didn’t want to make them upset. In Asia, it’s rude to say no to people (especially people who are older than you) when they are trying to be nice to you… Also, snakes are considered healthy food to boost one’s energy and to improve one’s health in some countries in Asia. I really didn’t know what to do…
Go with the flow!
Do you know what to do when you don’t know what to do? You have to go with the flow! I tried to be positive. Really really really really really positive… I convinced myself to try snake at least once in my lifetime since I was traveling in Vietnam. Yup. So I did try. And…
Snake tasted like…
It wasn’t too bad but I didn’t like it because it was a just very chewy piece of meat. And the meat was too small for lots of work! And the small bones of the snake made it hard to get the meat and I really didn’t like the feeling of touching snake’s dead skin.
Sorry but I’m too “full”
After one piece, I gave my second special Vietnamese food to my kind Vietnamese friends and said “I’m sorry but I’m really full. You can eat mine!” He looked a bit disappointed somehow but soon he started to eat.
“Homework” is done!
After eating my first and second special food a frog and a snake, I felt like I finally finished homework for the night. I was so glad that I didn’t offend anybody because of special Vietnamese food. The dinner table was full of food, full of smile and full of laughter. Everyone was very very happy.
And then other Vietnamese old men around our table came and asked where we are from. They were so happy to see foreigners at this local restaurant and yes, we drank together. We sang together. We got drunk altogether.
Lovely Vietnamese people!
It was a very good day. When we planned to hitchhike, none of us expected to have this fun night! I was really impressed by Vietnamese people’s hospitality. They were very kind and caring. These new friends made me fall in love with Vietnam.
Never try never know
If I haven’t tried hitchhiking in Vietnam, I wouldn’t have met these amazing people, I wouldn’t have tried this crazy Vietnamese food, and I wouldn’t have this amazing night! I really enjoyed my first hitchhiking in Vietnam.