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Escargot and Foie Gras – dining in Hanoi

Believe it or not I quite like food. If I were to have to pick a cuisine I liked best it would be, by a fairly long shout, French food. Chinese would also be right up there too. What I love about Vietnamese cuisine is it’s basically like a fusion between Chinese and French food. I’ve written before about Vietnamese BBQ, which is cooked in butter! Butter I tell you! But there’s whole host of other stuff too; even the national dish of Pho Bo is French inspired.

Whilst I was having a few drinks and some BBQ in the old quarter I happened to come across snails on the menu. I’m quite the fan of escargot, so snails in Vietnam was a bit of a no-brainer. It arrived in a big bowl cooked and with peppers, onions and spices, and a tooth pick!

Snails in Vietnam are not Escargot in Paris! You are required to pull the snail from its shell with toothpick, dip it in the sweet chili sauce and eat as is! A weird taste, but not without its charms.

Then there’s foie gras, one of the cruelest foods ever invented! Foie Gras, in case you don’t know, is a pâté made from the liver of a goose or duck that is force-fed food through a straw until it dies. Yes that’s right: it’s pretty much tortured to death, but every cloud and all that – it tastes awesome.

I often wondered how the French – or anyone for that matter – could have invented such a brutal legacy, then I looked into things a bit more. Of course it originated in Asia. If it’s weird and cruel it usually does.

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Luckily though, if you don’t have a moral compass when it comes to food you can pick up good old foie gras on a French baguette all over the old quarter (and indeed most of Vietnam), which makes a great alternative to a kebab if you’ve drunk a bit too much Vietnamese vodka.

Next stop: dog meat!

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Street Fooding and drinking at Hanoi’s Old Quarter