Well, so Zach and I took Thanh up on her challenge and cooked dinner… with a bit of help! We had a delicious feast of English-Vietnamese-Kenyan-Latin American-Canadian food! Our offerings were as follows:
Ali – green bananas fried like plantain and sukuma wiki (Swahili for a way of cooking sukuma greens/cabbage so it “lasts the week” a vegetable dish that’s designed to be used all week long) – I learnt to make these from a friend from Kenya who stayed with us for a while.
Zach – Patacón a Latin American plantain dish, here made with green bananas too
Nghia – delicious fried fish and fried tofu with tomatoes, spring onion and fish sauce (he made the oil catch light while he was tossing this in the pan in a most impressive manner!)
Thao – green bean and cabbage dish with pork stock, rice and fruit for pudding (people rarely eat pudding here but they do have fruit every day)
The ingredients all sourced locally – vegetables and fruit from the market, fish from the river, green bananas from who knows where but there are loads of them here, as well as sweeter small fat yellow bananas.
Over dinner we spoke of many things, including a lot about politics, communism, wars around the world, migration and the situation with many refugees displaced around the world.
Also Thanh talked about how lucky we were to have passports that mean we can travel virtually anywhere in the world. She is right, of course. It was good to hear her be so honest. She’s a very quiet, thoughtful person. In conclusion, she said she was happy with her life, and with being in her country. Because there is no war, and every year since the Vietnam War things have been getting better, so the sisters agreed they have some good leaders at the moment politically. And of course, they’ve had people from over twenty different countries come and stay with them even just in the last few months! So perhaps there is no need to travel. If they ever are able to though, I reckon they will have friends in all sorts of places. I will say that to them before I leave.
Dragon fruit, which turns out to be really good when it’s actually sweet and ripe (not like the terrible disappointment I had the only time I tasted it in England… the colour and look of it is so promising, but it tasted of over boiled potatoes it was so bland!) and green oranges. 😋
Ah, and I asked about the early morning radio broadcast thing. The sisters giggled and said it was their village’s way of welcoming us! I said, “What?? At 4:45 in the morning?!???” Apparently when the voice is speaking it’s the news about the country, agricultural news etc. They said they no longer notice it because they’ve heard it every day since childhood.