Floating Market and Elephant Ears

A recent trip to Saigon gave our contributor, Michelle Lee, the chance to explore Vietnamese hospitality in four short days. After trying out original Vietnamese noodle (Pho), and visiting the war remnants in Vietnam, she heads toward the Mekong Delta to experience the colorful floating market.

The colorful Cai Be Floating market. Photo credit - Daniel Guip.

The colorful Cai Be Floating market. Photo credit - Daniel Guip.

Cai Be Floating Market

I got up early the next day to join the Mekong Delta day tour, starting with a 4 hours bus ride towards the Cai Be Floating market. This market is both popular with the tourist and important for the locals. We boarded a bum-boat and entered the buoyant floating market, a very picturesque and uniquely Vietnamese experience.

Hundreds of boats filled with various produces are anchored along the banks of the river every day! Meat, vegetables, fruits and all sorts of goods are hanging on the boats, hung on poles that the locals call “cay beo”. Hundreds of such poles point sky wards.

After the colorful local market, the guide took us to several home factories where villagers made peanut and caramel sweets, coconut candy, rice crisps and rice paper for a living. We ended the inland tour with a trek through lush orchard and bee farms before heading back towards the boat to embark on a 40 minutes cruise heading towards smaller islands around the delta.

Other than the colorful floating market, the Mekong Delta is also famed for its beautiful landscape and picturesque greeneries. As we observe the typical Mekong Delta rural life, it’s easy to see how that fame came about. These charming canals and small islands are like no other, and one can easily immerse yourself in nature as you explore the area.

Elephant Ear Fish, a Mekong specialty! Photo credit - buck82.

Elephant Ear Fish, a Mekong specialty! Photo credit - buck82.

Mekong Collage. Photo credit - Berties world, mckaysavage, phobus.

Mekong Collage. Photo credit - Berties world, mckaysavage, phobus.

Elephant Ear Fish, a Mekong Specialty

We finally arrived at Binh Hoa Phuoc village, the green pearl of Vinh Long town at around noon, feeling hot and hungry. There we lunched on special local fare – elephant ear fish! This fifteen-inch fish shaped like a bass was standing straight up in wooden holders. It has been deep fried to crisp perfection, and its shaped like an elephant ear, thus the name.

The white flaky fish meat were rolled into rice papers mixed with fresh mint, cilantro, basil and dipped into the bowl of fish sauce. This mixture of chilis, fresh herbs and soft fish made for a tasty lunch indeed! As we indulged ourselves on this unique delicacy, traditional Mekong music and dance performance were held for our enjoyment.

Finally, we end the day tour with a relaxing walk around this small village, through the bonsai garden, before heading back towards Saigon.

Next, in the final part of this four part story, Michelle explores the sights in Ho Chi Minh City itself. Check back in the coming week! Part I: Pho for the President | Part II: War and Peace

About the Author. Michelle Lee. There is an idea behind every writing, and magic in bringing words to life. For Michelle, words create worlds beyond ours. A writer based in Singapore, Michelle seeks to inspire thoughts, ignite emotions, and explore the unfound as much as boundaries can be ventured into. Her inspirations spiral from overseas escapades filled with wild diversities of culture and traditions. “Abandoning responsibilities, work and the hustles of life to a place where everything is fresh, new and alienated. That, is sheer fascination.”


One Comment on "Floating Market and Elephant Ears"

  1. 7 Top Attractions in Ho Chi Minh City | Ho Chi Minh Spa Massage on Wed, 19th Sep 2012 8:21 am 

    […] taking off around the world, but there is still no better place to find it than in the country’s gourmet capital. Join the likes of Bill Clinton at Pho2000 near Ben Thanh Market, which proudly proclaimed “Pho […]

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