Thursday, August 4, 2011

Da Lat, Veggie Capital of Vietnam

It's the beginning of August, marking my last full month of travel. Since arriving in Asia on June 14, I've seen many markets in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. Here's some proof that I'm still not sick of them.
From K - Hoi An & Dalat

From K - Hoi An & Dalat


Dalat's cooler climate means it is a vegetable haven. Things can grow here that can't grow in the rest of the (hot, humid) country.

Strawberries?!

From K - Hoi An & Dalat


Here's where they've been keeping all the avocados. But don't touch them. Dana tried to buy one and the lady pulled out a banged-up, ugly black one, instead of these green beauties. Dana tried to pick up one of the green ones and the vendor slapped her hand away. We decided not to buy one after all.

From K - Hoi An & Dalat

From K - Hoi An & Dalat


The next day we ordered guacamole at a local restaurant-it was delicious, albeit unique. It was mashed avocado with peppers, cucumber, tomato, and chili. Sadly, I didn't take a picture of it.


Selling Agriculture in the rain:
From K - Hoi An & Dalat


I almost died when I saw these. Blackberries? Mom, can we have blackberry cobbler when I get home? Please?
From K - Hoi An & Dalat

From K - Hoi An & Dalat


I'm hoping they compost this:
From K - Hoi An & Dalat


Our Easy Rider tour with Stephane was interesting because we visited some farms and asked about pesticide use in Vietnam. I hadn't considered it until our tour, but Stephane told us that Vietnamese farmers use copious amounts of chemicals/pesticides. He's not a farming expert (plus there was a language barrier), so I'm not sure exactly which pesticides are commonly used here, but it makes sense that farmers have to use chemicals. Farmers here make little money, and they want to maximize the small income by ensuring their crops are as large and sturdy as possible. We were pleased to learn that crop rotation is a common practice, but I am a little scared about all the pesticides I've ingested from the plethora of vegetables I've consumed here. The highly corrupt Vietnamese government obviously isn't going to focus on limiting pesticides. Our own government doesn't do a good job of it, so I'm sure most other countries (besides the EU) have limited pesticide protection in place.

But I digress.

Dried fruits & nuts:
From K - Hoi An & Dalat

Towards the end of the market, we also saw a restaurant selling some unique, fresh seafood.
From K - Hoi An & Dalat

From K - Hoi An & Dalat


A Dalat specialty: Artichoke tea.
From K - Hoi An & Dalat


Finally, Dalat is the only place in Vietnam cool enough to grow grapes. Dalat wine is offered on menus in most restaurants throughout Vietnam. We tried a glass of red and it was young and brash, but it mellowed after sitting for about 15 minutes. Not the best wine, but for $1.50 per glass, it wasn't horrible.
From K - Hoi An & Dalat

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