Foreign Versions Of Familiar Products: Vietnam Salt & Seaweed Pringles

I enjoy looking at foreign versions of familiar products when I travel. Products are often geared toward local markets in different ways and it can be interesting to look at those. As a result of this, I picked up Salt & Seaweed Pringles at a roadside tourist souvenir complex building somewhere in the north of Vietnam. (I believe it was on the way to Hue.)

salt-seaweed-pringles

This was not a good idea. For one thing, this was a full on souvenir complex building, buses park at one side and then pick you up at the other, full of old crap products and ten times the price they’d be anywhere else in Vietnam. Beyond that, these just weren’t that interesting.

I thought they were smaller than the Pringles I got in the United States, and they seemed a different color and to have a different base taste. It’s possible I was just imagining it, but it seemed that way. They were also very, very stale. Most importantly, the interesting part, the seaweed part, just didn’t end up much. There was only the tiniest amount of green dust appearing here and there on a chip. Frankly, it seemed much more of a decoration gimmick and I wasn’t sure there was even enough to taste. I certainly didn’t taste any seaweed, just slightly different Pringles.

Bottom line, these just weren’t that interesting to try. It looked dressed up and all, but it wasn’t really that different. It seemed just made to appear that it was.

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Vietnam Karaoke

We went out for karaoke our last night in Vietnam, and it was a little different than I expected. For one thing, you rented a private room for your party. This is quite a departure from the bar full of strangers that I’m used to. Of course, I meant that I was an observer like usual. I’ve only ever actually sung karaoke once, and this time I had just lost my voice due to a cold so I had an extra excuse.

karaoke

The songs were the really different part. They still had the songs I expected from American Karaoke bars: “Me and Bobby McGee,” “American Pie,” and so on. However, they weren’t the versions I was used to hearing. They were usually versions done by artists I wasn’t expecting, and way different on timing and such. Example? “American Pie” was the Madonna version instead of Don McLean.

Really? That was weird.

Oddest was the lyrics the machine spat out. I had to wonder about accuracy from time to time. I understand different versions and all, but I’m pretty sure the lyrics to the Spice Girl’s song “Wananbe” go “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends” not “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get rid of my friends” as printed out on the screen during our session. That kind of changes the meaning a bit. It certainly gave the people singing a bit of a pause.

I’m guessing the lyrics were input by someone somewhere who didn’t really know them. Given the change I cited above, it’s the only explanation I can think of. I can’t think the Spice Girls recorded a different version with lyrics THAT different.

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Banana Fritters Are Everywhere

Continuing with thoughts on Vietnam, I was thrilled to see a lot of street food in Hoi An. We were going to spend a few days there and I’d get to try a few things (focusing on things cooked right in front of me, as that is safest). Among the first things I saw were banana coconut batter fritters/pancakes, some kind of shrimp pancake thing, and some kind of doughnut thing.

street-food

Then I saw them again.

And again.

Eventually, I realized that almost every cart I was seeing was selling the same things. There was also some ice cream pop things, cooked pork on a stick, and mango/peanut dumpling things, but the way vast majority was a repeat of the above.

That was cool, because they were fun to try, but it was interesting that almost all the carts I ran across were selling the same items. I ran out of things I needed to try much sooner than I thought I would based on the amount of street food I thought I was seeing in various places throughout the area.

I guess I was just imaging there would be more variety.

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What Being The Only Man In A Vietnam Tour Means

On our recent Vietnam trip, I was the only man in the tour group. Out of 15 people, 14 were women. Other than our guide, all were women except for me. Of the tourists, all but me. What does this mean?

Well, it means that if there is a vaguely humiliating demonstration, you will likely be selected to participate. For example, say you are at the rice museum and they are talking about farmers so poor that they could not only not afford a tractor, they could not afford a water buffalo to which to attach their plow and had to pull it themselves. Your local guide will then pull you from the group and make you pull the plow while an eighty-something little Vietnamese woman beats you with a small stick.

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Yup. That’s about the long and short of it.

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Pausing The Vietnam Stuff: Apocalypse All the Time Goodreads Giveaway!

The goodreads giveaway for Apocalypse All the Time is now open! Closes for entries January 5.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Apocalypse All the Time by David S. Atkinson

Apocalypse All the Time

by David S. Atkinson

Giveaway ends January 05, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

We’ll return to more Vietnam reflections tomorrow.

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Order Ye Egg Coffee While Ye May

I missed my chance to order an egg coffee. We ran into this drink on our recent Vietnam trip while up in Hanoi. Our group went to a restaurant that decided to do a demonstration of how egg coffee is made. It’s a big operation, taking somewhere around fifteen minutes if I remember right. A heck of a lot of work, and it was incredibly rich and delicious.

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But I only got a quick taste. Given the amount of time required to make one, they only made one sample, and it was too late to order a full cup. Then we left Hanoi and I didn’t find it again.

From what I read, this is primarily served in Hanoi cafes. It is beginning to be served in Ho Chi Minh City, but I didn’t find it there. Someone in our group found it somewhere else, perhaps Ho Chi Minh City, but they said it wasn’t as good there. That first restaurant is the only place I saw it in all of our Vietnam trip.

I totally missed my chance to order a cup.

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Snicker (Vietnam related)

Continuing with memories of our recent Vietnam trip:

my-dung

I know I shared this on Facebook already, but I’m sharing it here again. Snicker. The cake graphic makes it even better.

Yes, I know it isn’t funny in Vietnamese. I love amusing false homophones though.

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