Flavors of the Mekong


May 30, 2017

By James

Gems must be on my mind because the colorful fruits along the Mekong provide subtle reminders of the multi-colored sapphires and diamonds embedded in gold bangles back at the studio.

IMG_1548 1

In this instance, I’m admiring a woven basket holding bright red dragon fruit and yellow mango aboard our boat rounding Tân Phong island. Nina breaks open the scaly, layered folds of the dragon fruit to reveal a delicate white flesh studded with black seeds. The texture and flavor is much less dramatic than its appearance, reminiscent of a kiwi fruit. This contrasts with the meaty flavor of yesterday’s jack fruit. Meaty, really? Surprisingly, jack fruit is a hearty carnitas substitute for the vegan taco-lover.

Of course, the Mekong Delta offers much more than just tropical fruit. An early morning walk to the market at Hoà Ninh reveals the raw bounty of the region, especially the seafood or I should say riverfood. Bags of dried shrimp sit alongside buckets of live fish, eels, snakes, and frogs at the waterfront. Avoiding a catfish leaping from a bucket, I move to wander through the less animated stalls of produce, baked goods, and household items.

Heading back to our homestay, we watch a busy couple deliver blocks of ice by boat, reminding me of ca phe sua da back at the homestay. A day on the Mekong (really, any day in Vietnam) is not complete until a delicious iced coffee with milk is at hand. Vietnamese coffee is very dark, strong, and bitter so the condensed milk and ice create the perfect balance.

Packed up and back on the river, we enjoy snacks of coconut-sweetened tapioca with sticky rice wrapped in green banana leaves and jasmine green tea as we head to the homes of artisans scattered throughout the region.

In the next post, I’ll share more about how the women we meet create both practical and beautiful items with local materials like water hyacinth and nipa palm.

 

 

Filed under: Collections, design, fashion, travel Tagged: 18, jack fruit, Mekong, Mekong Collection, mekong delta, Nina Nguyen, Nina Nguyen Designs, travel, vietnam

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in The Nina Blog

Versatility
Versatility

December 08, 2017

Versatility noun: the ability to adapt to many different functions or activities At Nina Nguyen Designs, versatility is the name of the game.  We love mixing and matching metals, stacking on rings and bangles in our own versions of #theninastack, and our new interchangeable Hoops and Jackets!  We believe that everyone has a unique style, […]

Read More

The Nature Conservancy and Nina Nguyen Designs
The Nature Conservancy and Nina Nguyen Designs

November 27, 2017

With the busy Holiday Season upon us, it is important to take a step back and think about how to make a positive impact on the world around you. Protecting the environment is a top priority for us here at Nina Nguyen Designs.  We make every effort to use recycled materials- from the shimmering 18 […]

Read More

For the Eco-Conscious Fashionista
For the Eco-Conscious Fashionista

November 13, 2017

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, trailing only behind the oil industry. Additionally, the US is the largest importer of garments in the world.  Despite the fact that up to 95% of the textiles that are landfilled each year could be recycled, consumers throw away up to 70 pounds […]

Read More