Bizzare food in the UK and Vietnam

(VOVWORLD) - Food, as delectable as it is to some, can be unappetizing to others, depending on cultural differences and personal preference. In this week’s “Culture Rendezvous”, we’ll have a conversation with Jack Henton, an English teacher from the UK, about bizarre dishes in the UK and Vietnam.

Q: Hello,Jack. Welcometo VOV 24/7’s Culture Rendezvous. Our topic today is bizarre food.Tell us about the UK’s most bizarre food.

A: Thanks for having me here. Well, I am from the UK. Our food is sadly famously bland; it’s an eccentricity we take a strange pride in. So I fear that our food will be dull compared to Vietnamese, which is far more exotic and idiosyncratic. We have the quizzically named “toad in the hole” – it’s not quite reptilian, it’s sausage encased in a pudding batter. So a lot of our food is this starchy, hearty food. So we have a chip butty, which is chips in a roll, with ketchup or burger sauce, which is mayonnaise and ketchup together.

Q: That’s a weird combination, yeah?

A: Yeah, yeah, but horribly bland as well, it’s just potato and bread, lathered with some butter.

Q: Are those dishes served as regular meals – or just on special occasions?

A: So these are mainly sort of staples of our diet, so it’s more of just a, you know, an every night thing. We don’t have many sort of occasional foods. So we have certain traditional foods, so like a Sunday roast, which is roast meat – like chicken, beef, pork – and some roast potatoes, vegetables, etc., gravy. We have a Christmas pudding, which we have at Christmas. It’s sort of a load of dried fruits and ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, in this pudding, and you pour alcohol on it and light it, and then everyone eats it. So that’s a Christmas tradition, you could say.

Q: You just described Christmas pudding. I’ve heard that UK people also have a dish called ‘black pudding’. Could you tell us about that?

A: Yeah sure, so black pudding is I believe congealed pig’s blood and oatmeal, and you have it with an English breakfast, which is sausages, egg, baked beans – which are beans in a tomato sauce – so it’s like a blood sausage, basically, which we’ll have for breakfast. We also have haggis, I don’t know if you’ve heard of that. It’s a Scottish traditional food, and it’s sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, minced up, mixed with oatmeal and some spices, and stuffed into a sheep’s stomach, and then boiled.

Q: Have you ever tried that one?

A: I have never had haggis.I’m far too prudish.

Q: Would you like to try it?

A: Yes, yeah, I suppose I would. Like I say, it’s a Scottish tradition.I believe they have it on Burns Night, which is a Scottish holiday. And so, yeah, they have it on Burns Night, I think it’s January sometime, and it’s to do with a celebration of a poet, Robert Burns, a Scottish poet.

Q: How long have you been in Vietnam?

A: So I’ve been here about seven months now.

Q: Well, that’s long enough to have tasted some of the local food. Which dishes did you prefer, and which ones did you consider bizarre?

A: So I do like a lot of Vietnamese food. I like bun cha, I like pho, I like a lot of the rice dishes. I like ban cuon. Of the more bizarre ones, so the, the name eludes me…the foetus egg.

Q: The foetus egg is also available in Indonesia, where it’s called ‘balut’. In Vietnam we just call it duck foetus. How did you like it?

A: I haven’t tried it yet.I would love to.You’ll have to take me somewhere to sample it. I’ve heard it’s very nice.Alot of people tell me once you get over the idea of it, it’s actually very tasty and very good for you. So I’ve yet to try it, but I’m eagerly awaiting the opportunity to.

Q: Yeah, that’s very interesting. What about other dishes? Have you ever tried the one that is congealed blood in a noodle soup? Have you heard of it?

A: Possibly, it doesn’t immediately ring a bell. What is it? What’s in thesoup?

Q: It’s served in some kind of noodles, not pho, of course. If given the chance, would you try it?

A: Yeah, of course. Like I say, Vietnamese food is very different from that of neighboring countries. It’s very different to Cambodian, or to Chinese, or to Thai. It’s very distinctive as a cuisine, and very flavorsome.The flavors are always very pronounced and very strong, which I like. I’m beginning to love fish sauce, I can almost drink it. So I haven’t tried that dish, but I would like to.

Q: That’s really interesting to hear. Thank you very much for being with us today, Jack.


A: Ah no, absolute pleasure, anytime.

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