I had to include this not only because it was one my most treasured books as a child but because the Vietnamese are not well known for their folklore which is a shame because they have some of the most enchanting tales of doomed love, kings, queens, fairies and farmers.
Found across SE Asia there are two types of water buffalo: those that prefer deep water and those that prefer to wallow in mud swamps. The behaviour is vital for their thermoregulation especially important during the summer. Their diet consists mainly of aquatic plants such as reeds, bulrush, water hyacinth and marsh grasses. They frequently appear Vietnamese folk tales and are featured in many traditional Vietnamese artworks.
French occupation of Vietnam lasting almost 100 years (1857-1954) has meant that there are a number of colonial style buildings found in Vietnam. Although the french culture is often regarded as being romantic, the effects of french colonial rule on the local Vietnamese were harsh because they were deprived of their rights to land and the economic benefits that would normally accrue from harvest.
Com Tam is a breakfast dish that is broken rice served with an assortment of side-dishes such as meatloaf, shredded pork, pickled veggies (typically radish and carrot), grilled pork and fried egg. Although it sounds like a heavy dish, given the portions are minute this dish is surprisingly satisfying in the tropical weather of Vietnam. This dish originates from Southern Vietnam.