What About Vietnam – S3- 4
Find the "must try" Vietnamese local dishes in Danang
[00:00:35] Kerry Newsome: Xin chào. Welcome to What About Vietnam. Today, we've got a really fun show talking about food, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all you'll ever want to know about coffee set in the city of Danang. I'm talking to Pedr Finn, who runs Vietnam Food Safari, which is a fabulous tour that operates in Danang city. Peter runs those. I met him a few years ago. This is a super fun episode. [chuckles] He should be a stand-up comic, truly. Buckle up for a really great episode. Please welcome Pedr to the program.
Pedr, welcome to What About Vietnam. I can't believe we've been talking about this for ages. We've finally made it. We finally got together. Lovely to have you on the program.
[00:01:33] Pedr Finn: Thank you, Kerry. It's very nice of you to invite me and have the patience to put up with me.
[00:01:39] Kerry Newsome: Look, it's definitely worth it. I have to admit, I thought, "Is this actually going to happen?" Because I think I've been talking to you-- Oh, it's been at least over a year.
Yes. As we just said, there's a fair bit that's going on in that year. Lots of good reasons why, but I thought just for my listeners to give them some context about who you are and how I know you and all that sort of thing.
Back in about 2019, I did one of your Vietnam Food Safari tours. You really impressed me on that tour for two reasons. One, I was really starting to delve into Danang at the time. I used it as a bit of leapfrog to Hoi An and other places previously because, obviously, you fly in there. You just opened me up to a whole side of Danang that I clearly had missed. That was the first thing I loved.
Then, on the food tour-- because we're going to focus our day on food as in a food tour experience, when we talk about food in Vietnam, and we talk about cooking classes-- I've had another podcast I did with Tracey Lister, she mentioned and talked a lot about cooking classes. She said you really need to do more than one and do it in different regions because you obviously have a set menu. In a set menu, you only get what's on the menu. We're doing a food tour. Something like what I did with you was great because I got to see and experience lots of different foods, breakfast, lunch, and dinner in different places, and experience different flavors. It just took me to a different level of experience of food that I'd had up until that point. That's the biggest rave I can give you as an intro, but it's very genuine.
[00:04:05] Pedr Finn: I'll take it.
[00:04:08] Kerry Newsome: Okay, you got it. Now, let’s do this audio foodie tour of Danang because we're featuring Danang. That's where you're sitting at the moment. Let’s start the day. First stop. What's our first stop?
[00:04:24] Pedr Finn: For me, every morning, I get up at-- for the Vietnamese themselves, I'd be up early, 5:30. Most people would be up. I think 90% of people would have breakfast on the streets. For me, I would probably head to a coffee shop first. 6:00 AM, coffee shops are open. Vietnamese coffee lifestyle is probably unlike anything else I've ever experienced. I grew up in Fremantle. Fremantle has always had a good coffee scene.
You can go to Rome and have coffee, but the Vietnamese coffee is-- the scene itself-- it's amazing how people just come together for a short coffee and last the entire day. [chuckles] I feel sorry for the coffee shop owners. I think many of them would make very little money because they might order one coffee, and they get free tea all morning.
A lot of guys will sit there for an hour or two and only order one coffee. [laughs]
[00:05:27] Kerry Newsome: Yes, I know you would not do that in many other places. Let’s face it.
[00:05:31] Pedr Finn: No. They push you out. [laughs]
[00:05:34] Kerry Newsome: Absolutely. Talk to us a little bit about Vietnamese coffee because it's quite famous, isn't it?
[00:05:41] Pedr Finn: The Vietnamese coffee I think is the traditional style of coffee. Now, I don't know if anyone's had a Vietnamese coffee before. It's very strong.
The Vietnamese do grow their own coffee here in Vietnam up in the mountains. The coffee is very condensed. When they make it traditionally, they will use what they call a phin. What it is? It's a stainless or an aluminum device. It sits above your cup. They fill it with about two tablespoons of coffee and probably about 40 mils of water. It'll trickle through over the course of about five or six minutes. Surprisingly enough, more often enough, it's served cold. If I go to a coffee shop in Vietnam and order a coffee with the local Vietnamese scene, I would be ordering a coffee that I would expect to come with either that I'd ask for a coffee sữa đá, a coffee with milk, soybean milk, or coffee đen, which is black coffee, would come to the table always with a cube of ice in a small tray with a spoon. Your coffee's either still dripalating or already been poured through the phin, so you get this either lukewarm coffee with no milk. Then, you would add your ice to it, or you would get a hot coffee with milk in it. Then, you would stir the milk through, which is always condensed milk, which is my favorite. It's a sweet coffee. Then, you add a block of ice to it.
For many who come to Vietnam, I think that they aren't expecting all-- perhaps they've had experience with Vietnamese coffee before, but a true Vietnamese coffee is very condensed, very strong. I don't think too many people would be able to drink it black and to have condensed milk in the coffee, particularly someone coming from Australia or Italy. You think that's not what you pour in. You need real fresh milk.
But I think in days gone, they had no fresh milk and no refrigeration in Vietnam. That's been something they've carried on through. I think these days, you can go to coffee shops and go into a coffee scene, particularly in tourist areas. Now, you can order a cappuccino or a latte or a flat white, but it's fine that the Vietnamese coffee is not designed to be made into those drinks because now that they're using the coffee machines. They grind the coffee too fine. I find it burns the coffee very quickly. When they make you a coffee with the machines-- That has become popular now. Even in Danang now, you'll go to a coffee shop, and the machines are taking over from the scene of the old traditional phin. It's a shame because the coffee's so much better through the phin. It's not burnt. [laughs]
[00:08:50] Kerry Newsome: When coffee is burnt like that, it gets quite bitter, doesn't it?
[00:08:55] Pedr Finn: Oh, it does. As a coffee lover, you would find that to be a terrible cup of coffee. I think that the scene here is that many of the older generations will still head to coffee shops that only do it in phin, whereas the modern-day coffee shops that you're seeing emerging-- Coffee shops can be anywhere. What I love about coffee in Vietnam is no matter where you are, you'll find a coffee. It's not just a coffee shop. It could be on the street. It could be a plastic chair, takeaway, where they're just—Literally, you would sit, have a coffee and move on, or you can sit in a coffee shop. In Vietnam, they seem to put coffee shops next to a coffee shop next to a coffee shop. You'll have a row of coffee shops next to each other.
[00:09:46] Kerry Newsome: Do you have a favorite?
[00:09:48] Pedr Finn: I do go-- This is the other side of the river in Danang City. I'm living on the beachside and across the river, the Han river. There's a little Indochine coffee shop right on the waterfront. There are not many on the waterfront on the city side. It's a quiet little place. It's usually full of Vietnamese businessmen on the way to work in the mornings. In the afternoon, it's definitely quiet, but you have a beautiful view of all the bridges and all the waterfront of Danang. Danang's a very pretty city, a very pretty city.
[00:10:23] Kerry Newsome: It is. It is, definitely. It's definitely come into its own recent times, in the last few years in particular.
[00:10:31] Kerry Newsome: It is modernized, I think, faster than any other city in Southeast Asia. I can't say there isn't anything you can't get in Danang now. When I first arrived in Vietnam, there were things that you didn't even think about, fresh milk, deodorant.
You couldn't even get those when I first arrived, but now, you've got modern shopping centers, you have modern eateries. Franchise foods are coming down now.
[00:10:58] Kerry Newsome: Theaters.
[00:10:59] Pedr Finn: Yes. They're the big, scary ones I don't like. I don't like the new places that are turning up on the side of some streets. I don't know why, though, because the food here is so good. [chuckles]
[00:11:16] Kerry Newsome: Absolutely.
[00:11:16] Pedr Finn: In Australia, we're trying to get away from eating junk food and fast food. It's just arriving in Vietnam. I think don't let it stay because you've got such wonderful cuisine. There are so many options in Vietnam that the fast food won't last here very long because the Vietnamese arem’t into eating burgers, French fries, and that sort of jargon. I think the younger ones are, but not the older ones. No, definitely not. [chuckles]
[00:11:45] Kerry Newsome: Absolutely. Now, if we move on from coffee, and we're probably getting to about, I don't know, eight or nine o'clock, are we-- next stop, breakfast? What's on the breakfast menu?
[00:11:57] Pedr Finn: If you're going to go look for breakfast at nine o'clock, don't expect very much.
[00:12:01] Kerry Newsome: Oh, really. You've got to go earlier?
[00:12:02] Pedr Finn: Breakfast is an early thing. Yes, many breakfast places will be closed by 8:00. Nine o'clock you might stretch it for a couple of different options. Breakfast is my favorite time of the day. There are so many options you can choose from. I think that if you're expecting a bowl of cereal and bacon and eggs, you're definitely going to be disappointed, but--
[00:12:26] Kerry Newsome: [chuckles] No one's going to go to Vietnam for bacon and eggs.
[00:12:29] Pedr Finn: No. Well, they do serve a dish, which is one of my favorites, which is bò né. Bò né is the Vietnamese turn of bacon and eggs, I guess. They serve rare beef that they've stir-fried on a hot skillet, that is cooked on and served as your serving plate. They will cook that with fried eggs, onions, and pa tê, sometimes with sausages like a Vietnamese-style sausage, and always with a hot bánh mì or hot baguette.
[00:13:01] Kerry Newsome: Love the baguette.
[00:13:02] Pedr Finn: A lot of the baguette, the bread here is to die for. Again, that's regional, too. You can have different styles of bread throughout the country. And always with salads. You always get lots of salad served at breakfast time. One of the things I think Vietnamese eat very healthy is that they have a lot of leafy greens.
[00:13:22] Kerry Newsome: Yes, they do.
[00:13:23] Pedr Finn: For a fried breakfast, it's very healthy I think. It’s not swimming in oil. It's not swimming in fat. You've not got a lot of protein on the plate. It’s enjoyable with the hot baguettes, but that's one of my favorites by now, but there are so many others. You can go for soups in the morning. You can have rice porridges in the morning. You can have-- Another favorite of mine's bánh cuốn, which is like a rice pancake that's made fresh in front of you on the steamer. They'll pour a rice liquid over a steamer that has mesh over the top. That'll peel off these very, very fine rice pancakes that are steamed.
[00:14:06] Kerry Newsome: Oh, delicious.
[00:14:08] Pedr Finn: Filling those with chopped-up wood ear mushrooms and pork mince, or you can just have vegetarian options with they're just filled with eggs. That's served four or five of those rolled-ups with the fried shallots and shallot oil poured over the top. For many, that is just a great way to start the day. None of the breakfasts are heavy. They are meals, though, that will put them through the day. I think because they eat so early and break probably about midday for lunch. The main meal of the day would be breakfast. Lunches aren't a very heavy thing unless they're out and about working.
[00:14:52] Kerry Newsome: Yes, it's an interesting point you bring up that they do put an emphasis on early in the day to eat rather than late in the day. As a westerner, our biggest meal is in the evening, whereas their biggest meals tend to be breakfast and lunch. Is that [crosstalk]
[00:15:10] Pedr Finn: Well, for many people, they will travel home for lunch. Lunch with very, very, very little protein. There might be a small portion of fish or meat or pork, always with steamed rice and probably a soup, which is made with leafy greens. That'll be the family meal that they would all sit down to and all come home from work, and then, have lunch. Then, if they're in the fortunate position where they can have their siesta there as well, they will have their midday sleep, and then head back to work. I always said I could sell 97 million shirts in Vietnam. Vietnam eats anywhere, eats any time, sleeps anywhere.
They might have light meals, but they always seem to be eating. [laughs]
[00:16:00] Kerry Newsome: Yes. I can remember on that tour that you took me on. I've also got a lot of Vietnamese friends. We just seem to go from one eating place to the other and like I'm bursting at the seams. I'm going, "Are you kidding? I cannot put another thing in my mouth." It's only like eleven o'clock in the morning.
[00:16:20] Pedr Finn: I know that when I first arrived here, I was taking my friends, and one of my favorite soups is bánh canh. This one is served throughout Vietnam, but this was in Hoi An. The lady was only open between the hours of two and four o'clock. She would sell 20 liters of this soup between two and four o'clock. I would say, "But most people have had lunch at 11:30." "Oh, this is like second lunch." I'll be like, "But it's a big bowl of soup, and you'll be eating it with a bánh mì." I think, "Well, that's second lunch. Well, they're not even second lunch. It's like just before dinner." [laughter]
[00:16:55] Kerry Newsome: Exactly. I know.
[00:16:57] Pedr Finn: If it's not that, they're having a bánh mì in between it all. It's like--
[00:17:01] Kerry Newsome: Absolutely.
[00:17:02] Pedr Finn: Or snacking on fruit. They've always eaten a lot of fruit here. [chuckles]
[00:17:07] Kerry Newsome: Absolutely. Now, I want to get this clear for my listeners. We've had our coffee. The second stop is breakfast. Now, give me something a bit precise as what would be good things to look at on a menu for that breakfast, so people can start to look clearly at a menu and go, "Oh, I heard Kerry and Pedr talk about this stuff. This sounds really good." Let’s give them something clearer.
[00:17:37] Pedr Finn: Okay. For my choice of breakfast options, this was the one I explained, was the bò né, which is sizzling steak and eggs. That's pretty, well, more of a traditional idea for a breakfast for a foreigner, but--
[00:17:51] Kerry Newsome: Easy to find? Would it be on a lot of menus?
[00:17:54] Pedr Finn: It would probably be. It's always one of those little street-side serving places that you'll see throughout Vietnam. There'll always be a crowd at the front. Bò né, It will always be down at one end of the town, which is only known for breakfast. You'll see some places that are only open at breakfast time. For the rest of the day, they don't reopen, but other choices for me would be something-- One that you have to have whilst you're in Danang or in Hoi An or in the Quang Nam region or province is mì quảng.
Now, for many, it's a heavy noodle. But really, it’s a light noodle dish. The idea of having noodles and soup for breakfast would put a lot of people off I think, but once you've tried it, they are turmeric-infused broth poured over a rice noodle, quite a wide thick noodle. Usually, the broth is either with pork or prawn or with chicken. There's not a lot of protein. You may only get two pieces of prawn. You might only get a little bit of pork or a handful of chicken, but it's the noodles. The small amount of broth is what you enjoy at breakfast. For me, that's probably one that I would look for when I was in Danang or in Hoi An or in Quang Nam province because you won't see it again outside that province. It's a real specialty. For me, another one would be the old bánh mì, a good baguette. You can't knock the bánh mì here.
[00:19:43] Kerry Newsome: [chuckles] That's my go-to.
[00:19:43] Pedr Finn: If you want a quick grab-me breakfast, that's your McDonald's of Vietnam, I guess. Bánh mì are everywhere. It's to die for.
[00:20:00] Kerry Newsome: What I love the best
[00:20:01] Pedr Finn: I've never had a bad one. [chuckles]
[00:20:04] Kerry Newsome: No, I don't think I have either, but I really love that takeaway idea of just being able to roll up at one of those side stalls. They just put it all together, put it in a plastic bag, and off you go.
[00:20:17] Pedr Finn: Yes, Usually, you'll have some drink dispenser next door to that that's selling-- I don't know. You could have your sugarcane juices or your peanut milk. Then, you'll see the peanut milk and the soy milk served only in the mornings. They're always served in a little plastic bag. They'll shove the straw in there and wrap an elastic band around it with a block of ice inside. There's your takeaway drink.
[00:20:50] Kerry Newsome: Yes, ingenuity plus.
[00:20:51] Pedr Finn: So simple idea. Then, we go, "Oh, our takeaway containers." "No, don't need all that."
[00:20:59] Kerry Newsome: Exactly. Okay. We've done breakfast. Now, you and I suggested probably a visit to the markets. Now, there are a few markets. We talked a little bit about the ones where you need your passport, otherwise, you get lost or you can't find people or--
[00:21:18] Pedr Finn: You probably need to go to the nearest airport afterward because you're not going to be meeting anyone ever again.
[00:21:26] Kerry Newsome: Okay. Do we give that one a name, so people make sure they don't go there?
[00:21:31] Pedr Finn: Well, I highly recommend going to the fish markets. Now, there are the ones that are in near the port, but there is one on the main highway that leads to the port, which is a down and narrow set-- It's very difficult to find it. Then, it wouldn't be on any local maps, but it's where all the restaurants go to buy their seafood in the afternoons. It's such a narrow set of shops that stretches for maybe two or three kilometers. Everyone just squeezes in. You just get pushed along with the crowd. You pop out at one end.
I've never been there yet and left with the same people I arrived with.
[00:22:16] Kerry Newsome: Oh, no. I'm glad you didn't take me there.
[00:22:19] Pedr Finn: You'd never stop to have a look at something. Well, you can stop, but that's it. You've lost the group behind you if you do. [laughs]
[00:22:25] Kerry Newsome: Oh, okay. All right, where can I tell people to go, for God's sake?
[00:22:31] Pedr Finn: Oh, look. There are three pretty good markets in Danang. I would highly recommend going to the Mỹ An markets over in Mỹ An on the beachside of the city. It's a local traditional market. You'll be able to experience a real Vietnamese market that is selling throughout the day, whereas some markets will open very early and be shut by lunchtime. These ones will continue through the day. You can see the fish, the chickens, and the beef, they're all being presented fresh on the boards, ready to be cut and served, and a great selection of market food there as well. There's a lot of the things that we'll talk about today are in those markets if you wanted to have all of it in one spot. That was where I took yourself. I think we went there, and we had one of my favorites there. We had bánh canh soup, which was the tapioca-noodle-style soup. You can have things like bánh xèo, the Vietnamese fried pancakes.
[00:23:38] Kerry Newsome: Oh, I love bánh xèo.
[00:23:39] Pedr Finn: Oh, one of my favorite, too.
[00:23:42] Kerry Newsome: Oh, nowhere else can you get that. In Australia, they try to do it, but they just don't get it.
[00:23:47] Pedr Finn: No, they don't. Bánh xèo, again, is regional as well. You can go from Hanoi in the North and go all the way to Ho Chi Minh in the South. You'll see so many different styles of bánh xèo. It'll start very small and get bigger as you move South. Whereas the ones in Hanoi are almost the size of-- Oh, they pour them into a large wok. Whereas the ones in Danang are..the size of
[00:24:12] Kerry Newsome: The dinner plate.
[00:24:13] Pedr Finn: It's a dinner plate. Yes, you cut it up into pieces and roll it as you go, whereas things like the ones you get in Danang are quite small, about the size of a bread plate. You eat half of one at a time and usually filled with all sorts of fillings, bean sprouts, pork-
[00:24:29] Kerry Newsome: Seafood.
[00:24:30] Pedr Finn: -seafood. Yes, it's definitely one of the ones you really want to not miss out on when traveling to Vietnam. No matter where you are, you can always get a nice bánh xèo, but the one in the central parts of Vietnam that's not seen pretty much in the North and the South is bánh căn. Bánh căn is like a little pancake version of the bánh xèo, much crispier. They make it in little molds, about the size of an inch and a half, two inches. It's usually filled with a whole quail egg. It is fried in oil. It is almost simmering in oil.
[00:25:06] Kerry Newsome: Oh, yes. I've seen this just on the side of the street. A little lady frying them on little red chairs. They've got the quail eggs. Yes, I've seen it.
[00:25:17] Pedr Finn: They'll serve that with a green papaya salad, usually pickled green papaya and carrot, and again, lots of herbs and a very sweet fish sauce poured over the top. It's a midday snack, but also, you'll see it at lunchtime, depending on where you are. I know in Hoi An, it's only in the afternoons, whereas in Danang, you probably get it all through the day. Mỹ An market, you'll see these styles of food. It's throughout the day. You can go there from about 7:00 AM. It'll be finished up by dark.
I think the market themselves when people arrive, they think there's not much going on inside. Do venture inside. That's where it's all happening. The outskirts of the market have got all the fruit, vegetables, chickens, egg stalls, fresh fruit, and vegetables, but it's the inside operation of that market I'd head to. That was a really good market for food.
[00:26:18] Kerry Newsome: We might put a list of this in the show notes so that people can pick this out. I'll make sure I put that in the show notes, for sure, because no one's going to remember.
[00:26:29] Pedr Finn: No, no, no. I'll put some address details with that one to find. You just give it to your taxi driver, but it's also good for the other. It's on the tourist side of the town.
Danang's split into two. You'll have the city on one side, the river splitting the city from the beach. A lot of the hotels are on the beachside. This market is on the beachside. It's quite close to a number of the larger, more known hotels. It's just near Mỹ An beach or Mỹ Khê beach. You'll be able to find it quite easily. It’s not overly popular, but locals are more used to seeing foreigners there than some other markets. Tourists there from all than other markets. It's a local market. It's what you would see throughout Vietnam in the sense of you can travel to places, and you'll go to the larger markets in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. This market, you could almost take it out and place it into the countryside. It's no different than what you would see there. It's a very nice market to travel to. The people there are very polite and friendly and easy to deal with.
[00:27:43] Kerry Newsome: I think, from my experience, very friendly, open and look at you with those eyes of novelty as you-- you're "I'm a blonde." I'm walking in. I'm looking at things. Obviously, my facial expressions are giving me away when I'm seeing live chickens and meats spread out on tables without refrigeration and things like that. They have this little smile on their face to go, "Yes, this is us" kind of thing-
[00:28:11] Pedr Finn: Yes, [chuckles] absolutely.
[00:28:15] Kerry Newsome: -and you know nothing.
[00:28:15] Pedr Finn: One thing they do I find that, with the Vietnamese, particularly in the market, no matter where you are, they're, "Would you like to try something?" You don't have to buy something off them. They have a giggle to themselves because they know. They're like, "He's not going to want to have to try something like snails or frog legs or--" There's all these…
[00:28:35] Kerry Newsome: They've got eels jumping around in buckets and things like that. I know.
[00:28:40] Pedr Finn: The smells of the market are good
[00:28:41] Kerry Newsome: Yes, although it's NOT for everyone. Let’s face it.
[00:28:44] Pedr Finn: It can be rough if you're wearing thongs. Yes.
[00:28:51] Kerry Newsome: Oh, see, you didn't even mention that to me. You didn't even say, "Don't wear thongs."
[00:28:55] Pedr Finn: Well, I don't …
[00:28:55] Kerry Newsome: That's why I didn't.
[00:28:56] Pedr Finn: I don't tell you not to wear thongs. It's always so hot here, but it's the watch-out for the puddles. The puddles may not be water. Yes.,,,I see that now.
[00:29:08] Kerry Newsome: Okay. Let’s stop there because we're going to go to our next stop, which is lunch. I'm wondering about lunch. I'd love you to take our taste buds to maybe a really nice place to sit, view the world, and eat some tasty food because I was amazed. Now, I was there just prior to the pandemic. I was there in February, March. I got out on 19th March. I was just amazed. Danang was a buzz with new places that had sprung up. Talk to us about some good places to go and sit, have a nice cold drink, but eat some really tasty food for lunch.
[00:29:51] Pedr Finn: I think there are lots of places I could recommend, but for me, one of the things about coming to Danang is enjoying the seafood.
[00:30:00] Kerry Newsome: Yes.
[00:30:00] Pedr Finn: I think seafood at daytime is much-- I think it's more appealing to eat fresh seafood overlooking an ocean that's blue and white beaches. For me, I always suggest people eat seafood. You can have seafood throughout the day here, but lunchtime-
[00:30:18] Kerry Newsome: It's delicious.
[00:30:19] Pedr Finn: -looking out over the bay and eating fresh seafood in many-- there are many seafood restaurants along the bay. Some of which are right on the beaches. Some of which are across the road from the beaches. My opinion towards it is to go towards ones which are full of Vietnamese.
That's what I always say about any restaurant. Don't be frightened of being able to go in there and not being able to order from the menu. I think Vietnam have seen travelers for so long now that you can break down the language barrier very quickly by just either they may have an English venue, they may not. There may be one or two staff that can speak some English.
[00:31:04] Kerry Newsome: Particularly the younger ones.
[00:31:05] Pedr Finn: Yes, definitely. A lot of them are really happy to try and converse with you because it helps their English skills.
[00:31:11] Kerry Newsome: Exactly.
[00:31:13] Pedr Finn: I think if that doesn't happen, you can just point, and I'll have what they're having. [laughs]
[00:31:20] Kerry Newsome: Yes, I'd definitely do that. Yes, Harry-met-Sally thing. I actually point over there. I'll don't say, "Can I have that?" They can tell by my face. They smile and carry on, but I have found the younger ones, obviously, the ones at school and things like that a little bit more multilingual. For English, they do just love the fact that I'll be trying to say some of their words, and they'll be trying to say some of mine.
[00:31:48] Pedr Finn: Absolutely.
[00:31:48] Kerry Newsome: Between both of us, we work it out. I get what I want anyway.
[00:31:53] Pedr Finn: Yes, you never disappointed what you end up with even if it wasn't what you wanted.
[00:31:56] Kerry Newsome: No.
Okay, we [unintelligible 00:32:02] seafood for lunch.
[00:32:05] Pedr Finn: Seafood for lunch? Always go grilled scallops, my number one. You may not like scallops, but-
[00:32:12] Kerry Newsome: Oh, the [crosstalk]
[00:32:12] Pedr Finn: The scallops from Vietnam are just off the show. They're so readily available and grilled with a little bit of chive oil with some peanuts crumbled over the top.
[00:32:23] Kerry Newsome: Oh.
[00:32:24] Pedr Finn: Yes, I'm already hungry now thinking about it.
[00:32:28] Kerry Newsome: Me too.
[00:32:29] Pedr Finn: I might have to go having some. Well, we can't at the moment because we're in lockdown. I can't go ahead
[00:32:34] Kerry Newsome: No, oh, we weren't going to talk about that, Pedr.
[00:32:37] Pedr Finn: No, no, no. [chuckles]
[00:32:38] Kerry Newsome: [crosstalk] not talk about the lockdown. Okay? All right. Now, we've done lunch. I think it's time for either we walk it off somewhere like a walk along the beach or we go for a siesta. What do you think?
[00:32:50] Pedr Finn: Yes. There are many places that offer the cabana-style underneath of umbrella with a chair overlooking the beach, where you can just wander in and out, go for a paddle on the beach and come back to a nice cold drink-
[00:33:08] Kerry Newsome: Yes, now, you're talking.
[00:33:08] Kerry Newsome: -but to me, that's a good way to spend the day, always a great way of spending the day. I think you cannot miss out on some of the more tourist aspects, things that if you are in Danang as well. If you want to have a good look around, and you've got a few days here, there's plenty of tourist attractions which I'd recommend. Lady Buddha up in Son Tra peninsula. That's a majestic statue that overlooks the bay in the Linh Ung Pagoda there. It's a very peaceful place to spend an afternoon walking through the pagoda. or just to walk along the waterfront. Even Danang in the late afternoon, it's very accessible. There's tree growing, so there's shade.
[00:33:57] Kerry Newsome: Yes, good path.
[00:33:59] Pedr Finn: Yes, good path. Yes.
[00:34:00] Kerry Newsome: Yes, it's got a really nice path. I think as you say, Danang is starting to, I think, capitalize on some of those things for tourists to explore. A region that I've noticed come of age is Son Tra.
[00:34:18] Pedr Finn: Yes, one of my favorite places.
[00:34:20] Kerry Newsome: Yes, mine, too. Talk to us a little bit about how that's going, as I haven't been back there for a year. [chuckles]
[00:34:28] Pedr Finn: Well, it’s 10 kilometers from the center of the city. You will find yourself on-- You travel up into the mountain of Son Tra is a circular road that follows the peninsula. You can travel through the actual forest. You can be driven by the through tours. Friends of mine have jeep tours.
[00:34:51] Kerry Newsome: That's the Monkey Forest?
[00:34:52] Pedr Finn: Yes, up through the Monkey Forest [crosstalk] Son Tra. You'll see the red douc monkeys up there, which are one of the key places in the world you could see them.
[00:35:04] Kerry Newsome: I had a girl on the show talking about it.
[00:35:06] Pedr Finn: One of the very few places you'll see them. Surprisingly enough, I've been very few times. I've not been up there and not seen them. You've got the thousand-year-old banyan fig tree up there, which is in an amazing location. You think it's several trees, but it's not. It's one long tree that's grown into the ground. Its roots have grown up and in and out of the ground and up to the top again and back down again. It's just an amazing location. Son Tra itself is a peninsula. You're overlooking the ocean on a windy, twisty road. The forest is what you would expect to find in your mind when you think of Vietnam. This beautiful jungle forest, but you're only 10 kilometers from the city. It's very easy to get to. You used to be able to go up there and hired scooters, but they've stopped that now. You probably just need to hire a driver or a car, or you can catch the local buses up there.
[00:36:09] Kerry Newsome: It's very cheap to go there.
[00:36:11] Pedr Finn: Oh, absolutely. Again, on the way back, there's plenty of seafood restaurants along the peninsula that I'd stop at as well.
[00:36:19] Kerry Newsome: All right. Now, we're getting to beer o'clock, I think, very soon. Very soon?
[00:36:26] Pedr Finn: you might not have had one yet, but I think I would have already had one.
[00:36:32] Kerry Newsome: That's what I liked about you. [chuckles]
[00:36:34] Pedr Finn: I'm leading the tour.
[00:36:38] Kerry Newsome: What happened on that tour? Remembering, Kerry. I think I lost my camera, didn't I? [laughs]
[00:36:42] Pedr Finn: You did. Do you remember?
[00:36:45] Pedr Finn: Yes. [laughs]
[00:36:45] Kerry Newsome: I thought that panic attack was not part of the bargain. Oh, wasn't that awful? Oh.
[00:36:57] Pedr Finn: I put that down to the beers. We might have had earlier, but anyway--
[00:37:00] Kerry Newsome: All right, I need you to explain to everyone because I do a lousy job of it. Talking talk about bia hơi.
[00:37:13] Pedr Finn: Oh, bia hơi. Yes. Okay.
[00:37:14] Kerry Newsome: Yes, I know that's not particularly Danang, but just to explain--
[00:37:18] Pedr Finn: Yes. bia hơi.
[00:37:21] Kerry Newsome: Oh, really?
[00:37:21] Pedr Finn: Yes, yes. more of a Hanoi thing, but you will see on the streets now the bia hơi is 6,000 VND for a beer. If you want to look at that, that's probably around .33 cents [chuckles] for a large bear. It's a drinking, meeting place for mainly men, but recently the Vietnamese women are starting to catch up with the men when it comes to drinking. Drinking's part of the culture in Vietnam. If you're a teetotaler or you're against drink, you're going to be disappointed.
Well, maybe not disappointed, but you may find yourself having gained a few kilos and a few headaches along the way. If you choose to go along with the beer-drinking [chuckles] because there's no better way to meet Vietnamese people than to sit yourself in a restaurant or a bar or a bia hơi or a beer hall or side of the street and join in. Within minutes, you're part of the clan. You've got long-lost uncles you hadn't met before.
[00:38:38] Kerry Newsome: There's something about the beer that's made in the bia hơi, isn't it? It's made in the morning, I believe. Literally, it has to be drunk by the end of the day.
[00:38:50] Pedr Finn: Yes, freshly keg beer. They don't put the CO2 in it. They sit there with an air pump. Some poor guys have got to sit there and squeeze the beer out with his foot, or he's got a hand mechanism to squeeze it out. [chuckles] That keg's going to be drunk before the end of the day. [laughs]
[00:39:04] Kerry Newsome: Yes, because there are no preservatives in it [unintelligible 00:39:07] so-called or--
[00:39:09] Pedr Finn: Well, I think these days, they might be a bit better than what it used to be, but yes, they're not gas. They're not the gas kegs. There are no gas lines. Another thing you need to go about beers, beer-drinking, and beer now is to expect it to be drunk on ice. If you're looking for a cold beer, you will find them in restaurants and bars. If you drink with a Vietnamese normally, the beer will come to the table in a carton [chuckles] and a bucket of ice served alongside. [laughs]
[00:39:43] Kerry Newsome: Yes, I love beer on ice. I think it's a fabulous combination.
[00:39:49] Pedr Finn: You've always got a cold beer. The last time I was in Australia, some time ago now, and I ordered a beer cup.
[00:39:58] Kerry Newsome: Yes, they would have said, "Where are you from?"
[00:40:01] Pedr Finn: Yes. [chuckles]
[00:40:02] Kerry Newsome: Exactly. All right, for an evening meal, are we saying seafood for the evening as well or--
[00:40:13] Pedr Finn: Oh, look, we had it for lunch. Let’s just go to a normal streetside Vietnamese restaurant. You'll see them everywhere. There's no particular showing of what they'll have on the menu if you sit down. The majority of them will offer chicken, beef, pork, seafood again, but fish is probably a very predominant one as well in Vietnam for grilled.
They'll do a lot of grilled fish meals, but for me, I like going out. If you're just going out with something really cheap and easy, it's chân gà nướng, which is chicken wings. They grill over an open-ed charcoal burner. They all spear these chicken wings with large bamboo skewers. You'll see the guys cooking them, maybe 50 or 60 at a time. They're turning them over a narrow grill. They've got a fan behind the back of the grill. It's blowing the coals red-hot. These chicken wings come cut-three pieces. One chicken wing cut into three pieces. Usually, only served with a side of cucumber and salt and pepper dipping. You'll see the street-side vendors that will serve these. The bones go on the ground. Everything goes onto the ground as you go. It's probably one of the best chickens you're ever going to eat. They slowly baste it with honey and salt and pepper and water and oil mix. They've come out these glazed chicken wings,. You only sit down to five or six. You probably sit down to--
[00:42:14] Kerry Newsome: 10 or 20.
[00:42:15] Pedr Finn: Yes. [chuckles] That's one of the many options, but again, food is always available. At three o'clock in the morning, I can go out and have returned soup. I'm on my way home from eating dinner.
[00:42:32] Kerry Newsome: You feel like a snack.
[00:42:33] Pedr Finn: Yes. You feel like another snack. You'll be having another soup, usually soup. My favorite is bún bò, which is a beef noodle. For those who know Vietnamese food, that was known as bún bò Huế. Bún bòin Danang and probably Quang Nam is a much finer noodle. The soup's not spicy. It can come with different fillings and my favorite is the bún bò Thái. That's rare beef. They'll slice this paper-thin, the beef, then, lay that over the top of the noodles, then, pour the broth over the top and slowly cooks the beef while you're eating it. That is a really great way to finish the night. It'll soak up some of the festivities. It's not too filling. I think if we're on our way home in Australia, I'll pull over and grab a burger or a kebab, but this is a much better way [chuckles] [unintelligible 00:43:33]. There are eateries open. It's not just they're open, they're flocked, too. You can go to summit two or three in the morning. There'll be a crowd at the front. It’s not that it's a city that doesn't die, it's a city that-- it continues. About four o'clock in the morning, it'll be quiet. [laughs]
[00:43:55] Kerry Newsome: Yes, but it's a different nightlife I think, isn't it?
[00:44:02] Pedr Finn: It is. Yes.
[00:44:00] Kerry Newsome: It’s more of a street nightlife rather than a pub nightlife at a club.
[00:44:06f] Pedr Finn: Absolutely. Yes, definitely. It's not people heading out to drinking them [crosstalk]-
[00:44:10] Kerry Newsome: No.
[00:44:10] Pedr Finn: -or throughout the night.
[00:44:11] Kerry Newsome: Now, it's a street.
[00:44:11] Pedr Finn: They'll meet for coffee. They'll sit and talk, enjoy [crosstalk]
[00:44:17] Kerry Newsome: They're not dancing [crosstalk] away. No.
[00:44:19] Pedr Finn: No. Definitely not, but very [crosstalk]
[00:44:22] Kerry Newsome: There's a little bit of that.
[00:44:23] Pedr Finn: Yes, there's a little bit of it, but I think for many people, it’s a way of meeting for the day, end of the day. If they've not seen you in the morning, they'll finish off the evening with somebody different and enjoy another-- the coffee shops are still open to two or three in the morning. They may enjoy a late meal……restaurants are still open till two or three in the morning. It's very quiet, people talking. It's a very--
[00:44:50] Kerry Newsome: Very safe.
[00:44:51] Pedr Finn: Friendly. Ah, absolutely. I've lived in cities all over the world. Danang, I'm living in an area where I probably would be the only westerner or foreigner within miles. I have no safety concerns whatsoever. I would say to most people that if you're traveling here, do not be concerned about safety. They're wonderful people. You could leave your watch on top of the bar, walk away with your phone and come back, and it's still there.
[00:45:21] Kerry Newsome: Yes, or they'll chase after you to give it to you.
[00:45:24] Pedr Finn: Yes, [laughs] most certainly.
[00:45:26] Kerry Newsome: I've had that. I didn't leave my phone, but I left my hotel card, swipe card for my hotel room. I'd left it accidentally, obviously, underneath my phone. This girl came running after me. She said, "Miss, miss, miss." Sure enough, it was my hotel card. I thought, "God." had the room number on it, the name of the hotel. She could have just [crosstalk]
[00:45:49] Pedr Finn: Yes, any other country you think you wouldn't feel
[00:45:53] Kerry Newsome: You would never see it again.
[00:45:54] Pedr Finn: Yes. I've never had any safety concerns in Vietnam. It's one of the most wonderful places to live. I've been living here nearly for 10 years. I feel--
[00:46:05] Pedr Finn: It is the most livable city, Danang. It's been voted.
[00:46:08] Pedr Finn: Ah, it has the beach. It has the river. If you were wanting to move here or wanting to spend some time here, it also has a very good ex-pat scene. Even if you weren't wanting to enjoy Vietnamese food, some of the best French food I've had is in Danang. There are wonderful pizzerias. There are wonderful microbreweries.
[00:46:32] Kerry Newsome: 4P’s. Yes.
[00:46:34] Pedr Finn: Yes, 4P’s the Microbrewery, 7 Bridges, their beers are on par with anything I've had elsewhere in the world.
[00:46:44] Kerry Newsome: You've got bar places like Dirty Fingers.
[00:46:47] Pedr Finn: Oh, yes. There's so many new and opening--
[00:46:51] Kerry Newsome: Western places.
[00:46:51] Kerry Newsome: You can feel comfortable knowing that if you want to get away from it-- For many people who have been traveling in Vietnam, they start either in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh and finally get to Danang. They've been eating rice and noodles. They're living their dream holiday, but every now and then, you do feel like something different. I can't say you're not going to be disappointed with that style of food either, in Danang particularly. Yes. Then, the wonderful service here to-- No matter which restaurants you go into, I find that--
[00:47:26] Kerry Newsome: At good value, at good pricing. That's what I love the most. Great food.
[00:47:32] Pedr Finn: [crosstalk] one of the cheapest places to eat. My parents normally stay in Hoi An. We brought them up into Danang where we're living. My mother's going, "You sure that's the bill?" [laughs]it’s "$10 for four of us?"
[00:47:47] Kerry Newsome: Yes, exactly. Pedr, I would love to keep talking to you all night about food, but I think I'm going to have to run to the kitchen.
[00:48:00] Pedr Finn: We haven't even scratched the top of it. [chuckles]
[00:48:01] Kerry Newsome: I know. Now, you know why I wanted you on this show. [00:48:09] Pedr Finn: I've just been rambling on.]
[00:48:17] Kerry Newsome: Well, maybe I've got to get you one again, but firstly, I'm going to put as many links as I can. I'm also going to do a transcription of this episode, which you are going to help me with later because we're going to have to put some Vietnamese terminology next to some of those names that you've been just espousing. We'll do that for everyone. I've loved having you on as I knew this would be hilarious, but I have to shut us down. We're going to send people crazy. They're going to go, "God. We need to book a tour. We need to go to Danang."
[00:48:52] Pedr Finn: I've managed to have some conversation in English for more than 20 minutes. This is great.
[00:48:59] Kerry Newsome: Okay, Pedr. Fantastic. Thanks for being on the show, Pedr.
[00:49:04] Pedr Finn: All right. Take care, Kerry. Very nice.