Deep in the heart of Southern Vietnam, locals proudly serve the Elephant Ear Fish to visitors.
It’s a Vietnamese delicacy, only available along the banks of the Mekong River. It is cherished by those who live in the jungles here for many reasons – it is easily farmed, inexpensive and tasty! Elephant Ear fish has sustained families for generations. According to a local guide, it is the preferred dish for gatherings and celebrations.
I think there is another reason why the locals serve this dish, however. They may not admit it, but I think they take a secret delight in watching the reactions when they serve the Elephant Ear fish to their unsuspecting guests.
As the server proudly placed the fried beast in the center of the table, I looked around at my companions. The color drained out of one’s face. Some gasped, obviously shocked. One shouted “No way!” Still others smiled, excited for the experience.
The entire fish is served whole, bones and scales included. The deep-fried fish is propped up in the middle of the table between 2 wooden rods that keep it from tipping over. The Elephant Ear fish IS the centerpiece. Through Western eyes, this can be quite a shock.
Fried scales curl away from the skin, eyes have shriveled into empty sockets, and the fish’s mouth remains pursed as if its shouting “NO! Don’t put me in that fryer!”
What’s the craziest thing you’ve eaten while traveling? Share in the comments below!