In the early Spring one of the teachers, who was only here for a couple of months, told us that her husband, who worked at the oil refinery knew of an individual from the Phillipines who lived in town but had no one to speak English too . When this fellow, Arnold learned that there were 3 Fillipino teachers nearby it was quickly arranged that the teachers and Arnold would meet. And that is how a new friendship was formed. Arnold was the HR consutant from the Phillipines who was working for the oil refinery. Unlike the other workers, he did not live in a compound as he worked from his home in town which added to his isolation. So needless to say, Arnold was very happy to meet 3 young woman whom he could talk to in his native language. Living with the Filipino teachers, has meant that I have been exposed to some yummy home-cooked meals. In July, Arnold and another worker, Wilson came over and prepared an amazing feast for us. Another time it was Wilson’s birthday and we went to Arnold’s home and ate an amazing meal !
Overall, most of the food I have tried I have enjoyed but there is one food I will not eat and another food I tried and will not try again. In both Vietnam and in the Phillipines it not uncommon the eat blood. The way the blood is prepared, is that it looks like a cube of jello, and I usually see it in some soups. I haven’t tried it, and won’t. Iris told me that in her family the blood is bought fresh from a local supplier and her family has never experienced any problems with prepared blood .
Over TET, Iris went out with one of the students one evening and when she arrived back at the house with the student she was quite excited to have me try a food that she had bought for me. She and the student sat waiting in anticipation for me to open up what they had bought me. What I had was an egg in a shell. But when I broke away the shell from the egg and started to eat the egg, what was inside was the embryo of a chicken which was well enough formed for me to be able to distinguish its various body parts. Apparently, it tastes good when ate with salt, lemon juice and ground pepper. The broth surrounding the chick is also drank prior to eating the chick. The name of this dish is called balut. I have read that the balut eaten in Vietnam is 19 to 21 days old. Needless to say, I was not anxious to dig into this treat, but I did eat it. Apparently, however I ate some parts that I shouldn’t have. Quang Ngai is also known for its snail soup called NON (not sure if it is spelled correctly), and it is so good! Another favourite of mine is called Banh Xeo which is the Vietnamese pancake. It is soooooooo good and I particularily like it with shrimp inside. Believeme there are many other foods I like here. Mrs. Thao makes a banana salad…hard to explain but it is scrumptious. The grocery store up the street makes a great banana cake too. Oh, but the seafood in Quang Ngai is so good as well. Another meal I like is the food cooked in hot pot. I’m hoping to pick up a hot pot at the market and bring it home with me, it’s sort of like a small round hibachi.