Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cooking At Home

I often cook at home because I live ~20km outside the center of the city and I get tired of eating the same things at the restaurants around my house. I also like to do my own cooking because I can control (most) of the cleanliness of the food and +plus+ it is much cheaper. I can make a huge plate of noodles and veggies with a bottle of beer at home for ~0.70usd and at the restaurant i will pay ~4usd. The restaurant is still cheep by American standards, but all those small amounts add up to large amounts in the long run.

In Vietnam markets can be found everywhere from a small butcher shop at some random person's house to a guy on a 3 wheel bicycle selling fruits, veggies or jerked seafood.

Freshness spans the gamut from literally just come from someones garden/tree/bush/slaughter to guaranteed to make you sick. You can get some great quality ingredients here but you can also get some great stomachaches too if you are not careful.

Cooking can be unique too- especially outside the city.  We often have flies and mosquitoes swarming you at the kitchen.  This is because many homes here do not have central air conditioning so we keep the house cool by keeping doors and windows open (this alone saves a ton on the electric bill!).  Therefore, cooking usually involves killing many files and mosquitoes before preparing the food and scratching for a while afterwards where the mosquitoes successfully got you.  The frequent massacre of the pests is made a bit easier with the aid of the "bug bat" (see below).  It is essentially a hand held bug zapper. This thing really packs a punch- it will give a person a good shock if the metal part is touched while turned on.  It is much more fun than the conventional fly swatters back home.

Mosquito Bats or Mosquito Zappers are Useful In Vietnam

The thing about using the bug bat is you don't have to wait for the mosquitoes or flies to land to kill them; you can get them mid flight.  This leads to a lot of fencing-like moves with the zapper.  Also, when you are busy with cooking and you are not zapping bugs you need to keep moving around constantly (almost dancing) to avoid being eaten alive by mosquitoes you missed.  I thought this video appropriately shows what it would look like in my kitchen to avoid being bitten while swatting at flies and mosquitoes.  Take care.

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