Day 3: Christmas in Da Nang

For the last 5 Christmases, I’ve gotten 1 day off from work to celebrate the holiday. It’s always Christmas day (China time), which isn’t actually great because my family is together to Skype with me on Boxing day (China time). With my change in jobs this year though, I got a Christmas holiday to enjoy! A full 2 weeks off to take a vacation and unwind.

Some pretty boats we stumbled across today on our adventures

It’s been great! This morning, we woke up early, went for a beautiful drive through the countryside and spent the afternoon on the beach. For Christmas dinner, we were faced with a few choices.

  1. Find a hotel doing a traditional Western Christmas dinner.
  2. Go on, business as usual, and enjoy a nice but normal dinner.
  3. Celebrate Vietnam style: with a seafood feast, complete with noisy locals, tanks of live sea creatures and unbelievably good prices.

Naturally, we went with #3.

That’s my “I’m gonna eat sooo much seafood” face

We ended up at the busiest seafood restaurant we could find. It was huge, full and everything smelled incredible!

We sat down at a table near the back and we told to go choose our sea food. It was hard to choose just 1, so we chose 3!

There were so many tanks full of so many different types of seafood. They had three types of prawns alone….
These are all caught fresh. The turnover in that restaurant is huge so I very much doubt any of the fish stay in those tanks long
The prairie girl in me was VERY impressed!!!
I didn’t even know what some of these things were!!!

When we walked over to the seafood area it was all a bit overwhelming. Within a minute though, one of the employees had offered us help and gave us prices and info on the seafood. It turned out some of the prawns are from the river and others from the ocean. We went with the river prawns because we’d never them before. We also got some muscles and a fish.

The workers literally climb stairs to get to the tanks
They pull out whatever you want into a little basket. Some of the pickier clientele examine the contents of their baskets to make sure they got the best clams
Next, your basket goes into the scale. I was really grateful that the guy helping us kept giving us our totals. All the prices are per kg, so it was nice being able to tally it all. They were a lot more honest than I was expecting, too. The bill was less than we had mentally calculated.

Once you’ve chosen your food, it’s time to decide how it’s cooked! We had our

fish barbecued, the muscles steamed in Chilis and lemongrass and the prawns in a garlic chili stir-fry.

Prawns!!!!
Not much to look at but these were SO tasty!!
The fish was topped with an array of Chilis and spices
The BBQ guys outside work on a big grill. With over 100 customers in that restaurant at a time… They keep busy!

We also ordered seafood fried rice and spinach for good measure. In total, the bill came to less than 1,000,000vdn ($60 Canadian). I still can’t believe it!!!

The fried rice had calamari and shrimp in it
Spinach doesn’t photograph particularly well, but wow it is tasty!!
Me…very impressed with the size of my delicious prawn

The fish was served in a very Vietnamese fashion. Along with our perfectly BBQed fish, we were also given big green leaves and a salted garlic sauce to dip it all in. Many Vietnamese foods are served this way. You make a little wrap out of a fresh green leaf. I love this style of eating! The flavor is fresh and the textures are great!!

Dip fish in sauce. Place fish in leaf. Wrap it all up and voila!
Dave, enjoying his Christmas dinner

So that’s how we spent our Christmas! It was fab, and I’m going to be begging Dave to go back to that restaurant again before we leave Da Nang after New Year!!