Tag Archives: Vietnam

Monkey Nuts

Having eaten gazillions of peanuts in my lifetime I was astonished when I bought some from this lady on the beach in Vung Tau, Vietnam.


They looked like monkey nuts – peanuts with the shell on. Well I guess they were monkey nuts but the difference was that they had just come out of the ground. I cracked one open and popped it in my mouth and discovered it was squishy, a little bit blobby. On closer inspection I could see they still had a downy skin on. They were plump and snug in their shell and hadn’t been roasted.


The people sitting next to us seemed to enjoy them but they didn’t float my boat.

It made me curious though so I checked out fresh peanuts and discovered a few facts.

Peanuts are not nuts. They’re legumes, hence the pea status in their name

They grow on bush type plants which flower as do all pea plants but they then throw down a tendril which buries itself and the peanuts grow under ground.

The peanuts we usually eat have been boiled or roasted.

So there you go!


Hanging out in Hoi An

Hoi An is a small fishing town that wasn’t damaged in the war and the old town is still intact. No high rise buildings just lots of cute houses, temples and plenty of water. It sits on a river that goes out to sea. There are lots of boats. lots of seafood and lots of tourists.


It’s a World heritage site and the architecture and the town is quite beautiful, especially at night when the town is lit up by coloured lanterns made from bamboo and silk that reflect on the water.  You can buy a paper lantern from one of the street vendors to launch on the river for 10,000 dong (40 cents)  and make a wish. They bob around in the water, all the  different colours illuminated by the light of the candles which makes a very pretty picture.


It’s well known for it’s food and one lady in particular, the famous Ms Vy, who is responsible for most of the food tourism. She opened her first restaurant in 1982, began to give cooking classes and now she has four restaurants including a street food food hall show casing the different foods and how they are made. It’s impressive – quite a success story

I went along to one of the cooking classes to learn a few more recipes and see what its all about. There’s no sign of Ms Vuy  but the class is very professional.


It begins with a trip to the market to gather ingredients followed a tour of the food hall where there are demonstrations of how to make rice paper, rice noodles and all manner of weird and wonderful dishes then the cooking class begins.


All the ingredients are laid out and it’s super organised.We made prawn and pomelo salad – absolutely delicious,


clams with lemongrass and ginger – very spicy,


marinated fish barbecued in banana leaf and then stir fried with noodles – yum


and a clever little Vietnamese ice cream trick.


It was well worth the money so if you’re ever in Hoi An check it out.

Originally we thought we’d hang out there for the week cooking and cycling to the beach but between the rain and the toy town tourism we have decided to bail out  so we’re up at the crack of dawn to hop on a plane to Ho Chi Min and then continuing south in search of sunshine. That’s another tree to plant!!