After two weeks in Da Nang, the prospect of a month seemed like forever. Now in our final days, we can’t believe how fast that month passed. Below are a few favorites in Da Nang and adventures in our last week.
We found a few spots around town where we visited with regularity. The first was a small cafe near the beach. The food? Average. The atmosphere? A bit dark and could have been a cleaner. The staff? Super friendly, but had limited English. So what was the draw for the Dailey family? The kitties, of course! The restaurant had three little kittens that were very friendly and would cuddle up for a nap while we sat waiting for dinner. There were also two little puppies that would look on with puppy eyes waiting for scraps from the table.
Another favorite restaurant sold one dish exclusively, which came to be one of our favorites. It is called Mí Quảng. According to Wikipedia, the dish is made with rice noodles tinted yellow with turmeric. The meat is typically chicken, fish, or beef. The broth is made by simmering the meat in water or bone broth and is seasoned with fish sauce, black pepper, shallot and garlic. Extras include hard-boiled egg, peanuts, chả (Vietnamese steamed pork sausage), chili pepper or chili sauce, fresh vegetables including: water mint (rau húng lủi), basil, Ipomoea aquatica, Vietnamese coriander, sliced banana flower (bắp chuối bào), bean sprouts, lettuce, and pieces of toasted sesame rice crackers, called bánh tráng me. Although we tried this dish at several establishments, Mỳ Xứ Quảng definitely made it the best. I would recommend adding most of the veggies, the crackers, and then topping it off with fresh-squeezed lime juice. If you like it hotter, there are always sliced chilies you can add to the mixture. This could definitely be a recipe to try when I return.
The Tulip Restaurant was a place that we visited with some regularity when staying nearby. They serve ginormous Czech beers and their 22-page menu offers a variety of selections in each of the following categories: cigarettes (to smoke while dining, not eat), appetizers, salads, vegetables, soup, shrimp, crab, squid, clam, eel, frog, fish, beef, deer, pork, pigeon, goat, chicken, duck, rabbit, lamb, tortoise, hot pot, rice, noodle, and porridge. The most adventurous we got on this menu was the fried tilapia (see picture below).
We happened upon another restaurant near our hotel that we tried for lunch one day. As we walked in, and the manager pointed at food on other tables and then pointed at a table for us to sit at. No menus, no ordering, very little talking at all… food was just brought out and set in front of us. The was a large plate of greens (lettuce, mint, cucumber, bean sprouts, some other leafy green that I couldn’t identify), a couple of plate-sized rice crackers, a plate of meat for each of us (we’re pretty sure it was pork), a plate of half dry rice papers and half wet rice papers, and various sauces. One waitress demonstrated what to do – start with a piece of dry rice paper, put it on the wet rice paper in order to pick up a single piece – difficult to do without the dry paper. Lay it on your plate and then place one piece of meat, some greens and veggies, and then roll from one corner, dip in sauce, and eat. RJ, Ty, and I got the hang of it right away, but Ray had a harder time and the staff was watching closely! Each time Ray tried to roll one up, he’d mess it up one way or another and inevitably a staff member would come over and demonstrate again and fix his roll… no speaking, just a wag of the finger, fix up, and return to watching. It ended up being a really good lunch and we all had fun laughing at Ray!
As far as adventure is concerned, I think this video by Ray says it all:
Sometimes we have to make our own adventure!
One day we visited the Museum of Cham Sculpture. The museum was opened in 1919 and houses carved stone relics from ancient Vietnamese places of worship. Some of sculptures date back to as early as 700 A.D. We opted for the headset to describe the sculptures in English, which made the visit much more interesting. Without the headsets, we might never have known just how many of those sculptures were actually Shiva lingam and yonic representations. Oh, it was linguistics, history and sex ed all wrapped up together!
On our last night, we went to Asia Park, a theme park in the making. Most of the park is still under construction, but the Sun Wheel is in full operation. This wheel is 377 feet high or about twice the size of the wheel in Seattle, which is 175 feet high. The park was by far the quietest and most subdued theme park I have ever been in. But at a cost of only 100,000 dong (less than $5 USD) per person, we feel like we got our money’s worth!
Finally, all the boys got haircuts and Ray and I got massages. This post is already far too long to go into that story. I think the Vietnamese massage requires a post of its own!
I have been asked recently if I am receiving the comments made on the blog site. The answer is a definite yes! I see the comments made on the blog site, Dailey Family Facebook site, and my personal Facebook site. It is more difficult to respond on the blog site, but we definitely see them and try to incorporate suggestions into our posts and vlogs. Thank you and please keep them coming! Also, please feel free to e-mail or call. The best way has been FB messenger – we have found it to be an easy and effective way to chat with folks back home. Please keep in mind the time difference though. Currently we are 14 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time, but that will change to 15 hours with daylight savings. I have to say that I am typically online when all you folks back home should be sleeping and either you don’t shut down your computer or you are awake and posting at some very odd times! Next time you can’t sleep, give us a call and I’ll put Ray on the line. You’ll be asleep in no time.
Tomorrow we’re on to our next adventure… Nha Trang, Vietnam. Until then, here’s a few more pictures…
RJ and Ty at the kitten restaurant. The girl next to Ty is also 13. She and her sister (22) work every night at the restaurant.
Deep fried red tilapia from the Tulip.
The crowds gather in anticipation to see the fire-breathing dragon.
We could feel the heat from where we were standing. Unfortunately, the flare was a little much for my camera lens.
Cham dragon that actually reminded me of Mushu from the Disney movie Mulan
RJ and Ty in their headsets
Ty in front of the Sun Wheel