GENERAL FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION ON TOUR

We no longer visit campsites, it caused too many problems. Over the years, we have selected the best hotels available and we know you won't be disappointed.

Each night we stay at local hotels which are generally air-conditioned, with phone, and most have internet access. They are always clean and tidy, often family owned and as good as back home! We also do home-stays at your request, where we are welcomed to spend the night with a local family. However, this not possible on every tour.

Some villages and small towns we pass through have hotels and guest houses and our guides are often asked why we don't stop there. The truth is that we have tried in the past and have had problems with owners who are somewhat over-zealous in wanting your custom, so we drive on.

When you are on tour, our guide will dine with you each evening and he knows the best places to go. You only have to read some of the testimonials to know you won't go hungry!

Vietnamese food.

Increasingly famous worldwide, with restaurants sprawled over the globe, yet no Vietnamese food abroad can equal in flavour or quality that made in Vietnam itself. In brief, Vietnamese cuisine depends heavily on rice grown in water paddies throughout the country, with dishes varying from simple everyday meals to sumptious dishes designed for Kings in days gone by. Reaching a balance between fresh herbs and meats, as well as a selective use of spices to taste, Vietnamese food can be considered one of the healthiest yet divine cuisines worldwide.

Spices and ingredients

Vietnam’s ingredients reflect its geography and climate. Rice (grown in water paddies throughout the country) is the main starch used in everyday meals, and is also made into different kind of cakes and noodles. Besides a number of Buddhist vegetarian dishes, most Vietnamese dishes or meals are a combination of a variety of vegetables, herbs and meats.

Common herbs may include lemongrass, lime or kaffir. Popular meats are pork, beef, chicken, prawn and various fish. Lamb, duck, birds, and even dog or other wild animals are also used, but not widely. Fish sauce and soy sauce are used as both flavourings and dipping sauces for nearly every dish.

Ground peanuts are also used widely in Vietnamese cuisine.

Vegetarians and those with allergies should be careful and tell your guide before enjoying Vietnamese cuisine.

Unless requested, we don't visit restaurants that serve dog meat.

A very popular treat in Vietnam is the ubiquitous Spring Rolls:

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

(Cha Gio)

1 serving

Ingredients

    FILLING
  • 2 oz Cellophane noodles, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, then drained and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 lb Ground pork
  • 1 lg Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tb Tree ears, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, then drained and finely chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 Shallots or white part of 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cn (7 ounces) crabmeat, cartilage removed and meat flaked with fingers
  • 1/2 ts Freshly ground black pepper
    PREPARATIONS FOR ASSEMBLING
  • 20 Sheets dried rice papers (banh trang)
  • 4 Eggs, well beaten
  • 2 c Peanut oil
    ACCOMPANIMENTS FOR SERVING
  • Basic Vegetable Platter
  • Carrot Salad
  • Double serving of Nuoc Cham (lemon juice)

Directions

Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Cut a round rice paper sheet into quarters. Place the cut rice paper on a flat surface. With a pastry brush, paint the beaten egg over the entire surface of each of the pieces. Before filling, wait for the egg mixture to take effect, softening the wrappers; this takes about 2 minutes. When you become adept at this, you can work on several wrappers at a time.

When the wrapper looks soft and transparent, place about 1 teaspoon of filling near the curved side, in the shape of a rectangle. Fold the sides over to enclose the filling and continue to roll.

After filling all the wrappers, pour the oil into a large frying pan, put the spring rolls into the cold oil, turn the heat to moderate, and fry for 20 to 30 minutes, until a lovely golden brown. (This is a special method of keeping spring rolls crisp.)

To serve the spring rolls, proceed as follows:

Arrange the ingredients for the vegetable platter (lettuce, mint leaves, coriander, and the cucumber slices) according to the directions preceding. Have ready the carrot salad and a bowl of nuoc cham. Each person has a bowl into which they place a bit of lettuce, 2 or 3 mint leaves, some coriander, and 2 cucumber slices. Each person then adds 1 or 2 spring rolls to their bowl, sprinkles with the nuoc cham, and eats the spring rolls and vegetables together, using chopsticks or a fork.

Additional carrot salad may be added to taste.

Another very popular serving method calls for placing the vegetables on a lettuce leaf, adding the spring roll, and rolling it into a cylinder. Holding the cylinder with their fingers, each diner then dips it into their own small bowl of nuoc cham.

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