Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Floating Market and a Noodle "Factory"

We were up again at 5:00 am to get ready for an early-morning boat ride to visit Cai Rang floating market.  Intermittent showers and mist made photography difficult,  but we did get a few good shots.  

Unlike the floating market John and I visited last year in Thailand, this is more of a wholesale market.  Most of the boats are larger and carry a large amount of produce.  They advertise the fruits and vegetables they are selling by hoisting samples on bamboo poles.  


Jicama is the vegetable advertised by this display.  

Our boat threaded its way through the market, with frequent stops to allow passengers to buy coffee, soft drinks, bananas and pineapple from vendors on smaller craft.  This woman and her son were doing a good business in bananas and pineapple.  

She was expert in steering her boat with her feet while her son with his infectious grin charmed the tourists and made many sales.  

Families live aboard  the larger boats, along with their chickens and dogs.  The Vietnamese are rumored to consider dog a culinary delicacy.  However, all the dogs we saw were obviously pets, thank goodness.  The chickens I'm not so sure about.  


 Our guide (his father lives in Houston) said that cock fighting is widespread.


After visiting the market, we then walked through a small village where they were making rice noodles.  One person poured batter (made from 50% rice flour and 50% tapioca flour) onto a cheesecloth spread over a slow fire. 



After a couple of minutes, the batter was cooked, and the woman was expert in using this wicker tool to transfer the thin circles to a straw mat to dry.  


After drying they were passed through a machine that sliced them into the rice "threads" or cellophane noodles.  It was a labor-intensive process, but quite interesting.

We returned to our hotel along the Mekong and its canals, taking a last look at the homes along its banks.

We had a lovely lunch in a riverside restaurant, then stopped for a passionfruit smoothie and a last look at our goldfish friends at Glory of New York Spa-Cafe.

We were only too glad to check out of our hotel and board our bus for Ho Chi Minh City (more commonly known as Saigon).

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