Viet Nam. December 11, 2012. Within half an hour of our arrival in Nha Trang, the capital of Khanh Hoa Province and a touristy beach city on the South Central Coast of Vietnam, we were approached by smiling Vietnamese ladies selling “lobster” and fruit. Serendipitously, we had just been talking about the fact that we were hungry and ready for dinner. “And he said, let there be food!” seemed to be their reply.
We did a poor job bargaining as the ladies’ opening gambit of two lobsters for 300,000 dong (around £9.50 or US$15) just seemed so good already.
The delicious crustacean, which I later discovered was probably more of a crayfish than a lobster, was glazed with a spicy chili sauce, re-heated in front of us on coals and served with a lemon and black pepper dip.
One of the old ladies even helped us get to the tasty, but hard to get to, meaty parts in the legs. The “lobster” was a little dry and we learned that many beach sellers offer fresh lobster that is cooked from scratch on the small grill. The latter often comes with a “bait and switch” scam whereby a large lobster is agreed upon and sold, but the unsuspecting tourist is distracted by other sales people in cahoots with the seafood seller in order to switch to a much smaller animal. Nevertheless, the experience was worthwhile for us, regardless of the dryness and I would recommend it. For me it was especially great as it felt like a very Russian thing to do.