This is my second blog post in my weird food series.  This one takes us to Vietnam, in particular Hanoi where I spent about eight days, coming home just last week.

The most odd, and I’m sure to many, shocking weird food discovery was dog meat.  Dog meat is relatively popular in Vietnam, Korea, the Philippines, East Timor and certain areas of China and Switzerland.  I was expecting to find dog meat in Vietnam, and I did.  I didn’t dare try it though; I’m a bit of a wuss!

There were many signs in restaurants which read “Thit Cho”, which is Vietnamese for dog food.  We didn’t actually realise this until one of my last days in Vietnam, when a local guide we hired for the day told us.

The only time I actually saw dog meat in person was on my first full day in Hanoi, at a local food market called Hang Be.

The dogs are apparently farmed, and people’s pets are not stolen for the meat.

Obviously eating dog seems odd to westerners, and obviously it does to me or I wouldn’t have put it on here.  We have to remember though, that eating cows (who are sacred, not just pets) to Hindu people must be greatly offensive, just as eating pork in front of a Jewish or Islamic person could be equally offensive.  Each culture has their own taboos, and this series on my blog is basically on exposing some of those taboos!  Anyway, enough of the lesson in cultural understanding,  just remember this before casting stones.

Dog meat wasn’t the only weird food item at Hang Be market; both pigs tails and pig trotters were quite popular.

And even assorted parts floating in water.

The weird foods didn’t stop at mammals here in Hanoi, of course.  There was a platter of some sort of bug, or grub, or silkworm larvae or something!

One thing I do have an ethical issue with is eating endangered species.  Some species of turtle are endangered; I’m not sure what species these are however.  Turtles are eaten in many places in the world, including lots of Asia and some coastal regions of and islands off of Africa.  Either way, it is what I view as a very weird food!

The French also left their taste of frogs with the Vietnamese.  The markets were full of large cages with none-too-appetising looking frogs.

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Last up for the markets, there also were a couple of sacks with some poor unknown animal inside!  I’m guessing that they were rabbits, but you be the judge!

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The Vietnamese seem to believe that the more dangerous an animal that you can put in your rice wine, the stronger the wine will be.  You see bottles mainly with snakes (mainly cobras), but also scorpions, and others!

I also had the opportunity to taste alligator for the first time.  This was in a restaurant in Hanoi.  The taste was somewhat reminiscent of crocodile, which I’m not a massive fan of.

In one restaurant, one of the options for the type of meat you wanted in your soup, alongside chicken, pork and beef, was swan meat!

This has been one of the more colourful travel destinations in regards to the variety of foods on offer!

See the full photo gallery of this trip to Hanoi: http://www.nickspics.net/v/Travel/Vietnam_2009/