© Phu Son Nguyen

Vietnamese fish hot pot

It was a long drive from my cousin's house in Saigon to the beach resort town of Mũi Né. Most of the way the road only had one lane in each direction, so every time my cousin moved into the opposite lane to pass a big, slow truck, it felt like we were playing Russian Roulette.

The weather ranged from sunny and hot, to pouring rain with beautifully frightening displays of lightening (but still hot); summer weather in Vietnam is always suddenly changing. We passed a huge semi that had flipped off the side of the road in the opposite direction, leaving its cargo scattered across the road. The truck was empty, the driver nowhere to be seen.

By the time we got to Mũi Né and located the resort where we'd be staying, we were all starving. We found a restaurant just down the street - large enough that you could envision a wedding being held there, but completely empty but for my cousins, Allison, and I... and a rooster wandering the grounds.

Finally we were able to eat. Unfortunately, most of the food wasn't great - bland, overcooked, tough. However this hotpot was delicious - full of fish, herbs, and vegetables.