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My Khinkali Journey, in Georgia

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nino

One day I was in the mountains of Georgia with my friends, it was a celebratory day, we had a fun time. We rode horses, saw beautiful landscapes and ate khinkali in a family restaurant. It was so big,... Read more

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Snails, Scallops, Duck Embryos, and more Submitted by: ja3ja3
436 / 70 Tran Van Dang Street, District 3, Saigon

It's been 6 years since I first tried hột vịt lộn. I remember it well. My friend Thang and I were on our 7-day RT motorbike ride from Hanoi to the China border. Thang pulled off a small road into a dusty dirt lot beside a village market. An old woman with her conical hat squatted beside a large pot of boiling water. Thang asked me, "Do you like trúng vịt lộn? It's a hard-boiled duck egg". Oh, sure, sounds okay! Then he explained the egg actually was a partially formed duck fetus. I figured, I liked to eat duck eggs (fried or otherwise). And liked to eat duck meat (with an orange sauce is nice). So, eating duck in an "in between" state should be fine As it turns out, the egg/duck in this embryo state was neither egg nor duck as I knew them. There is a yoke rich with capillaries - yum? And while spooning out the meal from the broken top of the eggshell, the texture was quite variable, ranging from a moist firm and tasty gelatinous substance, to the classic hard-boiled egg yolk, to a more chewy/crunchy/what-baby-duck-part-was-that substance. But I enjoyed my first trúng vịt lộn in that parking lot and was proud I choked it all down.

Now I actually seek out hột vịt lộn, insisting on it being served together with xào me - a tangy tamarind sauce. It's amazingly delicious. One of the simplest and tastiest Saigon street food treats that you can find. And Saigon's street and alley food vendors offer hột vịt lộn anytime, day or night. This weekend, Hai and I enjoyed our hột vịt lộn 100 feet from the railroad tracks feeding into Saigon's main train station, "Ga Saigon" at Quan Ốc Hương 70. What a great find! The hột vịt lộn xào me (with tamarind sauce) was excellent! Hai also ordered a pot full of small clams steamed in a lemongrass and chili broth. The clams were tender and yummy, and the clam broth was delicious all on its own. I chose the barbequed scallops, toasted with garlic, scallions and crushed peanuts. Need I say more. We loved it all. Our total bill: $5 USD. If you find yourself near the Saigon train station, check out Quan Ốc Hương 70, or other great eateries at: WWW.EATINGSAIGON.COM


 



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