By Allison Doucette, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017
I’m not usually very adventurous when it comes to food, specifically meats that aren’t common in the area surrounding where I live. For some reason, Vietnam made me feel like I should try everything, except seafood of course since I don’t eat it, so that’s just what I did.
In the Mekong Delta we were island hopping and saw a lot of wild life on our adventure but I don’t think I can really call it wild. There were frogs, crocodiles, fish, and other animals being raised in pens around the island to be on the menu of Con Phung Restaurant. Never had the food I ate ever looked me in the eyes 15 minutes prior to being in my stomach, and I have to
When we sat down at the restaurant, it was an odd experience. We had just come from seeing all of the animals and sat down with our tour guide so she could help translate what we wanted to order to the waitress, because just pointing at what we wanted on the menu wasn’t enough for her
We ordered some dishes to split between three of us: ostrich stir fry, fried crocodile, and coconut white rice. The rice was absolutely delicious. It was more difficult to eat than normal sticky rice because it was falling apart but there was a pleasant coconut taste since it was cooked inside the coconut and when you got the rice out from the inside, you could scrape the inside walls and get some fresh coconut to eat with your rice.
The ostrich had an unrecognizable but amazing taste. A dark meat, it was something I had never tried before and does not just “taste like chicken” which people always joke about. The ostrich meat was more like beef but had a richer, gamier taste to it.
The crocodile, on the other hand, had a very similar taste to chicken but the texture was completely different. Crocodile is a very grainy meat and almost seems layered in a sense when you are chewing it. While the taste was delicious, the texture was too odd and unlike my ideal meat texture that I had a hard time eating it.
Overall I believed the meal was very good and the view of the water with fish splashing was gorgeous. One thing lasted in my mind the whole time I was eating and continued to linger after the meal, how was I able to eat something that I was feeding 15 minutes prior in its pen? Then my thought shifted to how we treat animals in the United States and how their lives are terrible. These animals have much better lives than they would have in the US, so does this make the situation better?