Monday, January 07, 2008

Susu Fields Forever

Before we got to VN, everyone told us how we'll enjoy the abundance of local fruits and veggies. While there are certain edible flora here that is quite nice, overall I would say the average vegetarian can have a wider, and more fruitful (natch!), experience in the States. Frankly, the median quality of produce here is lacking.

One item that stands out, however, is susu - another name for the familiar chayote of your local ethnic grocery or corner bodega. I've seen chayote in my discount korean hypermarket back in DC (Super H, for whoever is wondering), but we never bought it, cause frankly, we didn't know how to utilize it.

After living in VN for a bit, it's become one of my favorite veggies (alongside the irrepressible rau muong - water spinach - and pumpkin shoots). All stages of a susu plant are eaten here , from the typical avocado-sized gourd/squash stage, to its string bean like stems, to its young leaves, be it deep fried like tempura vegetables or simply stir fried with garlic like other young shoots. Susu, in all its forms, is quite a tasty and healthy treat. It's also a name for a tasty chicken shack in HCMC.

A bit back we visited Tam Dao mountain and discovered the following susu fields that went on forever.

The Belvedere Resort at Tam Dao:

A short hike up the mountain. After a while, 2km seemed pretty long though.
These are the all encompassing susu fields.

The French Hill Station, now part of the susu fields:

The steps of the former French Hill Station:

Treking down the hill; much easier than walking up, obviously.

Resting at the endless pool at the resort. Yeah, we're fat suburbanite Costco shoppers. Except for the fat part.


SaigonNezumi said...

Wow, it really looks like the Mediterranean Sea. For a minute, I thought the pictures were taken from Alanya, Turkey.

I got to visit this place.

My first future daughter will be named Susu :-)

SaigonNezumi (Kevin)

D. said...

It is definitely a nice place, getting out of the city and into the relatively clean mountain air certainly was worthwhile. Out on the patio of the resort, it amazed me how all the furniture was not dusty. I guess I have gotten used to Hanoi's dust.

But I don't want to oversell it and leave you disappointed. Cropped pictures make every place look nicer.