Postcard from Hanoi: An egg-cellent choice to worm myself into foreign dishes

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ST Sports Correspondent Laura Chia tries local street food in Hanoi

Egg and coffee. Two things I don't care for and never thought I would choose to eat, much less in the same dish.

But I am in Hanoi and egg coffee is a well-known drink and so I thought, why not, and ordered a hot version of it at Cafe Giang in the Old Quarter.

First, a chicken egg yolk is beaten well with condensed milk till an airy froth is created. Then, the froth is layered on top of hot or iced coffee.

To be honest, the drink was not to my liking, partially because I didn't mix it well enough. There was too much froth when I started drinking it and too much coffee at the end.

But in the spirit of trying new things - after all Vietnam is known for its delicious and sometimes unique street food offerings like insects - I returned another day and ordered egg beer: Beer poured into the same froth. And it was tasty. The light, almost refreshing beer meshes well with the creamy and slightly sweet egg mixture.

I don't know what it is about being in a foreign land that makes me feel more daring - whether it's with my food choices or that I'm brave enough to walk around holding a camera and talking to myself.

Maybe it's the fact that no one here knows me and what happens in Vegas - or Hanoi - stays in Vegas, right?

To take it one step further, I decided to try something even more bizarre - silkworms and ragworm patties.

Like the egg coffee and egg beer, I enjoyed one but not so much the other.

I gagged while eating a fried silkworm because the texture caught me by surprise. It was mushier than expected and not in a satisfying way but I could taste the garlic and seasoning - it reminded me of stir-fried vegetables.

Even the old lady I bought it from and the next-door shopkeeper looked at me in alarm when I indicated I wanted the silkworms - which are apparently rich in protein and nutrition.

One of our drivers was taken aback when I told her I was looking for silkworms, which are usually eaten with rice.

She later laughed at me while I filmed myself eating them in the car and said she has never tried them and does not want to.

Like me, she is not that adventurous at home.

The reporter gagged while eating a fried silkworm because the texture caught her by surprise. PHOTO: LAURA CHIA

The patties, which I enjoyed, are fried fresh and next to the dozens of cooked patties lie two vats of wriggling ragworms waiting to be cooked.

The ragworm itself looked like a tiny squid and had a similar texture but was slightly more rubbery.

That's what I like about taking risks, you never know what will happen. Some pay off and others don't but what matters is, I tried it.

I don't know why I'm not as adventurous in Singapore - my go-to meal is good old fish soup - but the ragworms make me want to exercise this sense of adventure at home more.

Who knows, maybe I'll have some poached eggs when I'm back.

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