Sunday Snapshots: Dam Market, Nha Trang, Vietnam

Dam Market in Nha Trang, Vietnam is listed as a must-do on several travel web sites. I was interested in Vietnamese spices but thus far, they had seemed elusive. Snake wine, dried seafood and dried persimmons were more ubiquitous. I found one woman selling spices, buried deep inside the Dam Market. She spoke no English, our guide was no help on the spices front and my pocket English-Vietnamese dictionary was curiously devoid of anything remotely spice-related. She shoved a piece of paper and pen in my hand and motioned me to write what I was looking for. I printed cardamom carefully so that my squiggly unreadable handwriting did not throw her off as it had Medha's elementary school teachers. She stared at it and then her face broke out into one of the widest smiles I have ever seen. She rushed off into a dark alley, only to return with a packet of fragrant smoky Vietnamese cardamom. I bought some cinnamom, too, happy in the knowledge that I was all set to make some authentic aromatic Pho when I got back home.

We had only a few more hours to explore Nha Trang so I did not go deeper into the market. I did get these pictures, though.


Puffer fish


"Make man strong"


Our guide, Bay, holds up fire kindlers


Cau (in Vietnamese) or the areca nut (called supari in Marathi), that is popular with older Vietnamese women. They wrap it in betel leaves and chew on it. Cau is to the Vietnamese women what cigarettes are to the men.


Fresh turmeric


All types of garlic


She was as thrilled as I was, when she realized I was looking for Vietnamese cardamom


She had all kinds of spices and sauces


For some, it was nap time!


Some kind of dried fish


Mushrooms, maybe?


Not cheese but beef


Rice and pork


One of the alleys in the Dam Market of Nha Trang


Noodles for soup


Dried seafood of all kinds


Dried tiny fish and different types of fish crackers 


Dried squid

14 comments:

Panfusine said...

OOO... have been waiting to read your posts from the visit to Vietnam..Awesome!

Indonesia Eats said...

What a coincidence! I've just made Banh Xeo after craving for it for days :)

I always want to visit Vietnam one day.

Btw, every time I saw a shot of fresh turmerics I want to plant them for the leaves.

Pelicano said...

Way cool- it would take me forever to look at it all!

Anita said...

Did you carry any of this home?
I have tiny dried shrimp from Bombay!

Miri said...

They dry Everything don't they! The flavours and sights must have been so so intoxicating!

GB said...

LOL the laughing cow....and paan in Vietnam? who knew.

Manisha Pandit said...

Panfusine, I like to take my time. It helps me savor the joys of a trip and relive it again through my pictures!

Indonesia Eats, banh xeo was my daughter's last meal in Vietnam! We love it! And, I am sure you will enjoy Vietnam - the people are wonderful, the food crazy good and the lush greenery so soothing for the soul! I've never planted fresh turmeric. Hmmm! Now, there's a thought there...

Pel, is that an oblique way of saying "way too many pictures in this post?" :-D

Anita, nope. For several reasons, mainly baggage space and customs restrictions. Vietnam to the US is a very different scenario from carrying dried shrimpies from Bombay to Delhi. I have dried shrimp - really teeny ones as well as a reasonable size that I bought in Chinatown when we were in the California over summer. A Vietnamese woman helped me pick which ones to buy!

My best souvenirs from this trip are my memories and my pictures.


Miri, they dry pretty much everything! It allows them to eat meat all through the year. Vietnam was so wonderful. I would love to go back again soon!

GB, yeah, Medha was quite amused by the whole Laughing Cow thing. Vietnam is a lot like the coastal regions of India - except that they eat a lot more variety of seafood and meat, too. And, yes, paan! Older Vietnamese women generally have stained teeth and some paan tucked away in their cheeks. They spit out the juices, like Indians do, too!

Happy Cook / Finla said...

Loved all the pictures, the best picture I like is the one which the lady is taking the nap :-)

Peggy said...

What an interesting trip this must have been. I've recently become very interested in Turmeric.

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CAPT. NARENDRA said...

Thank you for bringing such a beautiful, picturesque presentation of Nha Trang and its Dam Market. Besides virtual devouring the dishes presented, I could not resist googling Nha Trang. Lo and behold, it was as fascinating as your article. What with Hindu temples, Shiva Lingam in the city of Nha Trang, my journey (again virtual) was very rewarding. Perhaps you and your readers may like to check out this link:

http://www.loupiote.com/photos/87750611.shtml

Helene Dsouza said...

haha.. I had a simliar isue once in delhi, just that that lady wasnt that nice and tried to cheat me with some added stones to the spices. lol

I can see u enjoyed your trip and the market! =D

Manisha Pandit said...

Finla, thanks! She was oblivious to the world around her!

Peggy, congrats on starting your own blog! Mighty glad to see you here. Vietnam was a wonderful trip and I want to go back again soon! What are you doing with turmeric? Fresh turmeric is a lovely orange color and the stains are difficult to remove so be careful!

Captain, thank you! There is a lot of Hindu influence in Vietnam from the period of the Cham dynasty. We visited the two Cham Towers, one of which was deserted and by the side of the road. The other was the famous Po Nagar Towers in Nha Trang. Incredible!

Helene, I have a wonderful trip, thank you! I'm sorry you were cheated in Delhi. I make sure I buy from reputed stores or ask my friends where I should buy from.

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