|When you eat roasted ducks in Hà Nội, you can also guess the score for World Cup games. Photo courtesy of kenh14.vn|
For those visiting Hà Nội for the first time, you will be met by so many amazing dishes to try, you may be left in a spin.
Phở, bún thang, mì trộn, bún chả, to name but a few. One popular food in Việt Nam’s capital city is roasted duck.
You’ll see these birds displayed outside restaurants, cooked to perfection and ready to be plated.
But at one particular eatery, these ducks come with a World Cup-themed side order.
We’ve all seen in the past animals being used to predict football scores at the tournament.
It began with Paul the octopus who went viral after correctly predicting eight straight results in the 2010 World Cup.
Since then we’ve seen cats, pandas, elephants and even a camel. Dogs, penguins and meerkats have also tried their hands (paws or wings in some cases) at predicting the results. Some, it has to be said, are far better than others.
The most recent pet pundit is Taiyo the otter who correctly guessed Japan would beat Germany. A score no one would have guessed, except for an otter.
Now as we know, these are all live animals. In Viet Nam, it seems the score predicting animals are doing so from beyond the grave.
One roasted duck joint on Trần Quang Diệu Street is serving ducks with the flags of football teams ‘branded’ into the skins.
Restauranteur Trần Ngọc Hùng uses bamboo charcoal starch, cream, sesame and chili powder to draw the flags – all adding to the flavour.
He then asks customers to guess the scores, and adds the numbers to his edible artwork.
Crazy idea? Maybe, but for football fan Hung, this is nothing new.
You see he’s been drawing football emblems on his ducks for a long time, way before the World Cup started.
Now, these ducks don’t come cheap. Expect to fork out up to VNĐ450,000 for a big bird, but you need to understand the lengths he goes to prepare the meat.
He carefully cleans the ducks, removes the excess fat in the abdomen, and then stuffs them with nine different ingredients. Next, he bends their legs and wings in order to shape their posture in front of the restaurant, showcasing both the ducks and the World Cup decorations.
This method enables the skin to be more puffy and crispy when grilled. After that, these ducks are bathed in fresh water twice, then added with taste and colour. Finally, they are roasted in an oven for between one and two hours. The whole process takes a total of 10 hours.
Seems like a lot of effort, but it's also paying off as many football-loving customers are dining there. Only in Việt Nam would you have a score predicting animal, that you can eat after the match! — VNS