Matija Babic was both traveling and discovering local cuisine when the pandemic kept him stuck for 17 months.
Matija Babic (43 years old) is a journalist, known for founding the Croatian online newspaper Index.hr and currently the culinary guide site TasteAtlas . He and his girlfriend came to Vietnam from February 2020 with a plan to travel for a few weeks and discover local delicacies, and collect materials for a food website.
But at that time the pandemic broke out all over the world, so Matija Babic’s Vietnam tour lasted from a few weeks to 17 months. However, he shared that “every day in this beautiful country is a worthwhile day”.
“During that time, I went to many regions and went through about 50 provinces and cities, learned from the customs, people, cuisine… and especially took a lot of photos.” Croatian writer shared on Boredpanda with a series of photos taken during 17 months in Vietnam.
Da Nang is where Matija Babic was stuck for 1.5 months in March-April 2020 before moving to Nha Trang, Cam Ranh and other lands.
Talking about discovering local dishes on her fanpage Taste of the Atlas, Matija Babic said: “The reviews of Google and TripAdvisor users don’t help much when in Vietnam. You just need to find the nearest market, Following the crowd, we rarely go to the wrong place. That way we found a very attractive Banh Xeo shop. Pancakes filled with shrimp, bean sprouts, vegetables, with a rich dipping sauce and even served with grilled meat. It’s a delicious dish.”
Coming to the coastal city of Nha Trang, Matija Babic was excited when he discovered jellyfish noodles because he thought that “jellyfish has no taste, why eat it”. However, jellyfish are strange in that they are lumpy when cooked because they become more crispy and gelatine-like when cooked. Although she doesn’t really like jellyfish noodles, Matija Babic is still fascinated by discovering new things about cuisine.
A Croatian guy asked a Vietnamese friend why many people prefer to eat at street vendors rather than restaurants and eat at home. The answer from a friend is: restaurants often sell dozens of items on the menu while small shops and sidewalks only sell a few dishes and sell each day, so the food must be better. That is probably also the reason why many people prefer to go to the sidewalk to sit on plastic chairs and eat around the vending cart or buy food from these carts and street vendors.
Traveling to the Mekong Delta, Matija Babic and his girlfriend fell in love with stalls selling fresh fruits everywhere. They also experience sitting on a boat among the coconut-shaded green canals in Ben Tre.
“Although the original purpose of my trip was to focus on discovering food and enjoying the natural scenery if I could describe Vietnam in one sentence, it would be: It doesn’t matter food or nature, Vietnam South is first and foremost a country of extremely kind people,” the Croatian writer shared.
(according to Boredpanda, Taste of the Atlas )
Photo: Matija Babic
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