Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Carved fruit and food that looks like animals

Not too long ago my pal Simon took me out to dinner at Tinh Gia Vien in Hue. It was, no lying, a bizarre place. They have a three set menus, priced at $15/20/25. Each one features a dazzling array of Vietnamese foods designed to look like animals.

Above is a chicken carved out of a pineapple with chilis for a beak and spring rolls for feathers.

The place is pretty nutty--Simon said it was like your eccentric great Aunt's house. There's a doll collection, polished stone collection, crystal collection. A lot of collections, basically, and a spooky olde-tymey vibe. Not necessarily the most gourmet meal of my life, but what they lacked in that department, they made up in the toads-croaking, we're in a giant colonial mansion and we are the only customers and god only knows what's going to be on the next plate department!

There was no one else there, apart from the toads. It was completely quiet except for when the waitress would silently glide up and deliver another course--there were eight in all.

Our pineapple lamp with various wontons and deep-fried goodies (including baby corn) sticking out of it.

Flowers on the table made from carrots and daikon.

Green papaya dragon

Phoenix made from papaya and cha lua (Vietnamese ham) with carrot, peas and egg on a bed of fried noodles.

And a fried rice turtle!

Tinh Gia Vien, 7K/28 Le Thanh Ton St, Hue City


  1. My God, all that work! I trust you tipped well.

  2. I want a pineapple lamp with various wontons on top.

  3. this is so awesome - love the chickens!