Month: February 2017

Nha Trang Street Food Tour

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Nha Trang may not seem appealing at first, with its tower blocks, but delve a little deeper, and this tourist hotspot has more to offer. Close to the sea, Nha Trang is a great place to scuba dive and is actually one of the best places in Vietnam to learn.

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Nha Trang

I didn’t want to scuba dive, but I did end up going on a night out, and somehow got caught up in some deep flood water.

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I stayed at Mojzo Dorm, which offered a street food tour every day at 3.30pm, for 200,000VND.

Somehow, I’d found myself disappointed with Vietnamese food so far, so I hoped I’d find some good Vietnamese food.

I was not disappointed.

The Tour

I was the only person who signed up for the tour on that day so I had a tour guide all to myself. My tour guide drove me around the stops on a scooter, but she said usually if there are more people they would walk.

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At the first stop, I ate a dish made from eggs. My guide told me that it’s a popular choice for breakfast. The restaurant made 6 in total, 2 from chicken eggs, 2 from quail eggs and 2 with meat. They were all delicious and I was hungry enough to eat them all but decided not to in order to save room for the rest of the food tour.

It was fun to pick up the eggs using chopsticks and try to dip them in the dip and successfully get them in my mouth.

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Time for my favourite dish of the day  – fresh spring rolls (GỎI CUỐN). Honestly, I could’ve eaten them all day. They came with a delicious dip and I ended up putting a couple in a bag to take home and eat later.

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Fresh spring rolls

Next up was  Banh Cuon, a dish made from a base of rice flour batter and pork. Again, another delicious dish.

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Banh Cuon

Banh beo – steamed rice cakes topped with pork were the next stop. By this point, I was so full and was surprised the the portion sizes were still so huge. Again, another delicious food.

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Banh Beo

Snacks loved by Vietnamese student

Finally a smaller portion! Banh trang trung is a crispy, eggy kind of pancake which is popular for young people to eat. My guide told me that she often eats this when catching up with friends. The dip is a mix of ketchup, chili and mayo. Again, the food was great and I managed to convince my guide to share some with me.

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Banh Trang Trung

Chen trung nuong – another dish my guide said she eats when catching up with friends. Honestly, I wish all of the portion sizes of the day could’ve been like this one. Another eggy dish – this was served at the same time as the banh trang trung.

 

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Chen Trung Nuong

Dessert

The last stop was for dessert and I got to try 2 Vietnamese desserts. First up was Kem Chuoi – banana ice cream, or more accurately, squashed frozen banana on a stick. It had been sweetened in some way. The other dessert was Che khoai tim – coconut milk & purple potato. Again, a yummy dessert.

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Kem Chuoi

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Che Khoai Tim

I had a great experience trying many different types of Vietnamese food. This tour also made me more confident to try other Vietnamese food as I continued my journey north. I actually discovered that Vietnamese food was some of my favourite in South East Asia.

Getting sick whilst travelling made me anxious about trying new food, so this food tour was a great way to start eating different food again.

For more on Vietnam check out:

 

 

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How to Pack a First Aid Kit Fit for a Backpacker

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I’ve had 3 separate times in my trip when a first aid kit has come in handy.

The first time, was my motorbike accident back in the Philippines. My first aid kit was definitely not well stocked enough for this, but fortunately, there were pharmacies nearby.

The second time, was when I had a parasite in Cambodia. I had plenty of Imodium, but I ended up going to the hospital after 5 days of being ill.

The third time was a kidney infection in Myanmar. I had antibiotics and paracetamol so was able to recover reasonably quickly.

I’ve learnt the hard way what I need in my first aid kit.

But you don’t have to. It’s so easy to pack a few essentials and they don’t even need to take up much room. I kept all of my first aid supplies in one of those small ziploc bags they hand out at UK airports for liquids.

Here’s a full list of everything I keep in my backpack for minor accidents and illnesses.

Pain Relief – I have paracetamol or ibuprofen for general aches and pains. Some people might choose different pain medication, that’s totally up to you.

Antihistamines – I suffer from hay fever back in the UK so I usually keep antihistamines close by. In the tropics, they’re also useful for helping stop the itching of insect bites.

Imodium – When travelling it’s almost guaranteed you’ll suffer from an upset stomach at some point. Anti-diarrhoea tablets will help manage this, especially if you’re on the move.

Dioralyte – When you’ve had that upset stomach you’ll want to replenish the lost electrolytes so you’ll definitely want to take some Dioralyte.

Antiseptic – You’ll want to stop any cuts/grazes from getting infected.

Plasters – Get a pack of different sizes and get waterproof ones if possible. The humidity in the tropics makes cuts get infected much faster than in the UK.

Gauze – Good for larger cuts/grazes. Especially useful to carry if you’re planning on hiring a motorbike.

Anti-Malaria Tablets (optional) – if you’re going to a country with a high risk of malaria, it’s recommended that you take some antimalarials. In South East Asia, the risk of malaria is low in most countries. It’s entirely your choice whether to take them.

Hydrocortisone – I’ve had this with me all the time because back home I occasionally get eczema. What I’ve learnt is that it’s one of the best things to stop insect bites from itching.

Most towns and even villages have a pharmacy in South East Asia, so it’s easy to keep medication supplies full. Many medications which are prescription only back in the UK, can easily be bought over the counter. This is great for me, as I have asthma, so I can buy reliever inhalers cheaply and without the hassle (and expense) of visiting a doctor.

You want to pack essentials but also avoid overpacking as you don’t want to be carrying too much around. Find that balance and take what suits you. Remember, pharmacies are easy to come by in larger towns and cities so you can always restock when you need to.

Before you travel, I would recommend visiting Fit4Travel, the NHS’s website for people travelling abroad. It advises whether you’re likely to need malaria tablets for your destination and what vaccinations you should be up to date with before you travel.

 

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