King of Fruit and Gluttony
For day 3 of our trip, we were in Cai Be with family. Danton and I woke up from a food-induced coma early in the morning. The first sounds of the morning were the call of roosters and pressurized showerhead type of rain on the roof of the house.
The original plan for us was the floating market, but with this downpour, we would need to put it on hold for another visit to Vietnam. It was unfortunate, but we still were able to visit some of the family’s durian and jackfruit farms. We definitely took the opportunity to indulge in durian, the king of fruit!
Life By The Mekong Delta
Despite the rain, we got in a boat and went to the area of the floating market to do some sight-seeing. It was a great constellation prize to see what life on the delta was like. What I enjoyed most was passing by the houses just hanging above the water and the dogs standing guard outside.
Just from peering into the houses I noticed some similarities to those found in my mother’s village in Thailand. The houses are small and centralized to one multi-purpose room. It would have been awesome to see what they are really like and to experience a day as a resident of the Mekong Delta!
Something to keep in mind…
I think it’s important to mention that if you’re going during the rainy season, you’re likely to miss out on the floating market. With the opening of the market at 5 am and the busiest times before 9 am (ish), there won’t be anything to see when there’s a downpour until 8 am like there was for us.
The distance from one side to the other of the Mekong seems a short distance by boat, but if you had to cross it via land it is quite the distance. To solve this problem, there are small transportation ferries to get people and their bikes to where they need to go!
Durian and Jackfruit
I love durian, like- I think it’s the best fruit ever. If you are unfamiliar, it’s that fruit people say smells like rotting flesh. Durian is a very prickly and pungent fruit, but if you can get over the strong smell, you’re in for a very rich and creamy delicacy! When I learned we were going to visit a durian farm, I was over the moon! Over the course of 1.5 days, Danton and I ate 3 of them. They are much smaller than the ones I’ve had in Thailand, but it was absolutely better than the frozen stuff you get at Canadian supermarkets.
I cannot confirm the authenticity of this information, but apparently, the spiky durian only falls at noon and midnight. So if you decide to take a stroll through the durian orchard, it would be best to avoid these times! Pretty sure it would be more than just a little bit painful to have one of them land on your head.
Even just walking up to the house you see jackfruit trees along the path. The trees themselves are not very impressive, and I wonder how they can support the weight of these giant fruits once fully grow. The taste is sweet and a ripe jackfruit is fragrant.
As we were getting a tour, someone was cutting down fruits that were ready to be sold. They cut a piece off near the stem to see if the fruit is ripe. It wasn’t very clear how they determined it, but they’ve been doing this for a long time so I guess it’s just second-nature. Some of the fruit on the way to market were the size of our car’s tire!
Cooking and Eating
The above photos are from the house we were staying at, not at the farm, but it was very similar. Most cooking is done in an open space with fire. There is a roof above so you aren’t cooking in the rain. In the second photo, there’s an area to do prep work and store some of the unused cookware. The room through the door (not pictured) there is actually a typical gas range stove that is used as well. You don’t need fancy equipment to create delicious meals. In fact, you just need a bunch of helping hands and a strong fire!
Before heading back to Ho Chi Minh City, we had a huge lunch with most of Danton’s family. There were so many people- which means tons of food! On the menu today was banh xeo, a crepe-like dish cooked in a really hot skillet and stuffed with pork, bean sprouts, and eaten with greens. In addition to our banh xeo, we also had banh khot, a salad with ground snake meat, river prawns, and lots of Tiger beer!
I’ll never forget all the delicious food we had and the incredible hospitality I received from Danton’s family =]
Live large. Live Jennorously!