Weird & Wonderful Vietnamese Dishes That Shock Foreign Foodies

From greasy worms to smelly fruits, Vietnam's diverse food culture is not for the faint of heart.
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Weird & Wonderful Vietnamese Dishes That Shock Foreign Foodies
Blood pudding is quite popular with Vietnamese people but not many international diners dare to eat it. Photo: Dan Tri

Vietnamese cuisine consists of many delicious foods, enchanting food lovers from across the world. However, some of the nation's more obscure dishes have cause a few foreigners to raise their eyebrows. Rich in tradition and flavor, these tasty dishes are only to the consumed by the strongest of stomaches.

Blood Pudding

To many foreign tourists, blood pudding sounds like a sinister dish but for Vietnamese, it is a specialty.

To prepare this blood pudding dish, people use fresh blood of animals such as swans, ducks, goats, pigs, then add a little fish sauce or light salt water to avoid freezing, then mix well with minced meat.
Weird & Wonderful Vietnamese Dishes That Shock Foreign Foodies

Coconut Worms

Another famous specialty of Vietnam, a bowl of coconut worms is crawling with flavor.

Weird & Wonderful Vietnamese Dishes That Shock Foreign Foodies
Coconut worms - a delicious treat or gross punishment? Photo: NLD

The round, greasy coconut worms squirm in zesty chili sauce. The first bites often give goosebumps to expats and Vietnamese alike.

Balut

For Vietnamese people, balut is a delicious, nutritious and healthy food. The dish consists of boiled, fertilized duck egg, served with salt, laksa leaves, ginger, and wormwood. A staple of street food culture, many struggle to keep down the flavored embryo.

Weird & Wonderful Vietnamese Dishes That Shock Foreign Foodies
Not many are brave enough to try balut. Photo: bungbuanno

Shrimp Paste

In Vietnam, shrimp paste is an indispensable, traditional dish.

However, some foreigners might "run away" at the sight and smell of the purple paste. The main ingredients for processing shrimp paste are sea shrimp, salt and some enzymes in the intestines of shrimp to help the dish ferment and have a characteristic taste.

Weird & Wonderful Vietnamese Dishes That Shock Foreign Foodies
Shrimp paste. Photo: cleanipedia

Durian

Durian is widely revered as the “King of Fruits” in the South-East Asian countries. Five or six times larger than the mango, it is a unique fruit with thick and rough skin, covered with sharp thorns. One of its own kinds, the durian tree is a tropical and seasonal fruit, its season lasts typically from June until August. Durian trees start bearing fruits after four or five years after being planted. The tree can grow up to 50 meters in height depending on the species, cited scootersaigon.

Weird & Wonderful Vietnamese Dishes That Shock Foreign Foodies
Durian. Photo: musangking

Both foreigners and Vietnamese find its smell quite terrible. Yet if you can get past the powerful odor, you will love it. Just after cutting the edge of the outer sell gently, one will be fascinated by layers of bright yellow fruit shining like butter. It has the special flavor of well-kept honey and rich in nutrition. “Smell like hell, taste like heaven” is how locals describe the stinky fruit. In addition, it is an excellent source of energy and excellent for digestive health. It’s high in fat, calories, vitamin C, iron, copper, potassium, thiamin and folate. However, the durian's stench keeps many from trying this peculiar fruit.

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