Saturday, September 20, 2014

Yummy and Contrasts (This week's Photo Hunt themes)

The contrasts are clear - between the street food experiences my mother and I had on my recent South Korea vacation and the one before (in 2009), and also between that on this recent trip and what we had in Vietnam last year.  

For a start, while we saw some interesting food being sold on the streets of Hanoi, we ended up feasting on them only with our eyes.  It wasn't that the food didn't look yummy -- but, rather, that the dining conditions didn't come across as all that ideal to us. 

Specifically, Vietnamese street food tends to be consumed while seated on low stools (as opposed to chairs) and using other stools like tables; and thereby resulting in both the food and the diner being much closer to the frequently super dusty ground than I'd like. Also, consider this as a quirk of mine but I like to drink (not necessarily something alcoholic but definitely cool and liquid!) when I eat while the Vietnamese seem to look upon eating and drinking as separate affairs!

On the Korean front: for some reason, my mother and I didn't spot as many street food stalls on our previous visit to the country as we did this time around!  So whereas I can only recall buying and eating street food on one occasion in 2009, it pretty much became an evening ritual on this recent vacation to wander around the streets near our hotel and sample some of the wide variety of food being hawked on the streets!

As I think the photos at the top of this week's entry for Sandi's and Gattina's Photo Hunts show, Koreans sure do love their fried food, seafood (especially squid and octopus) and Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) -- and after finding out for myself how yummy these street snacks are, I definitely understand why that's so!

Among the offerings I tried from the stall in the top-most photo was that which consisted of a large Western-style sausage with a fish cake and dark green-colored nori (seaweed) wrapping!  While I've eaten all three of those things before, I never had them in the same bite before -- and while the taste contrasts in my mouth were initially quite disconcerting, once I got used to it, I decided that this was one yummy savory snack and would not be averse to having it again! ;b


Trekcapri said...

Hi YTSL, I tend to shy away from street food while traveling too. But the food in your first two photos looks too good not to try it. It's always fun trying the variety of new food while traveling.

Have a great weekend.

The Indulged Furries said...

The variety of foods is interesting and yummy - if you like everything deep fried. Your descriptions of your experiences in the different counties gives the photos a personal perspective.

Gattina said...

I like Vietnamese food, it's served usually in Restaurants, but sometimes on markets there a stands.

Annie said...

Very interesting post. I didn't know that the Vietnamese think eating and drinking don't go together. I too am wary of street food sometimes but some of it is fantastic.

I didn't PhotoHunt this week, just wanted to stop by. :)

YTSL said...

Hi Trekcapri --

Actually, I like street food a lot -- the only country I've been to where I haven't dared to try it is Vietnam!

The general rule I learnt while living in Tanzania is: go for the food that you can see being cooked in front of you. It's the food laid out for a while -- even at expensive hotel buffets -- that are most likely to give you the runs! ;b

Hi The Indulged Furries --

It's true that there's a lot of deep fried stuff in the photos -- but there are non deep fried stuff too! E.g, I really enjoyed the roasted gingko nuts (in the plastic cups in the third photo). :)

Hi Gattina --

In Hong Kong, you only get Vietnamese food in restaurants -- where one can also order interesting (non-alcoholic) drinks to accompany the food. :)

Hi Annie --

There are some cultures -- and people -- for whom it seems that hot soups are the preferred liquids when eating food.

That was the case with my maternal parents -- and I can remember choking and needing to ask for cold water at dinner at their house one time when I was a kid! :O

sarah sbk said...

Hi ytsl,

All the food looks delicious. I'm full just looking at it. It would be hard for me to pick out a reasonable amount to eat as I'd want to try everything.

Carver said...

The food all looks delicious. It's still warm here but the nights are cooling down which makes for pleasant mornings. I don't really think of it being fall where I live until October.

YTSL said...

Hi sarah sbk --

I wished the sausage with french fries concoction hadn't looked like it had been out of the fryer for a time already. Otherwise, I'd have gone for that too! ;b

Hi Carver --

Thanks for visiting and responding to my comments over on your blog. Yeah, I think the fall only comes around in October here in Hong Kong too.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I love 'asian' food of all kinds. I never thought about the different styles ~ I will pay closer attention now!

YTSL said...

Hi Sandi --

"Asian" is a very broad descriptive word -- like "Western" or "European". Even "Chinese" may not be the most helpful descriptive word for food from China as Cantonese, Sichuanese, Chiuchow, etc. cuisines are so different from one another.

E.g., did you know that some Chinese eat rice as a staple food but others don't? Even many ethnic Chinese people living in places like Malaysia don't know that! :D

Bing said...

they all look yummy but what i'll do is buy what i like and bring them where i stay. after all, eating while being stressed out or anxious will not make the experience enjoyable. :)

i am back photo hunting after months of hibernation.

how are you?

YTSL said...

Hi Bing --

One isn't always in a position to buy something back to where one's staying -- this especially when one won't be back to where one's staying for a few or even several hours!

Welcome back to Photo Hunting. I took a break this past week but should be back at it next week.