The Hairy Bikers in Vietnam

Quite by chance, before leaving on our long-awaited trip I caught an episode of the Hairy Bikers where the bearded lads ‘do’ Vietnam.

For any of you who haven’t had the pleasure of watching the Hairy Bikers on TV, Si and Dave are a pair of cooking enthusiasts who travel the world on their motorbikes, making meals by the roadside, or in one particular episode, in the shade of a tree in the middle of Africa. They then feed their new local pals the Hairy Biker version of local cuisine. This really is a cookery show with a difference.

See below for the Vietnam episode’s summary, which I cheekily lifted from their website:

Part One
Saigon’s a foodie paradise, but two-wheeled chaos rules… Going with the traffic flow, Si & Dave cook shrimp & pork on sugar cane in the middle of a frenzied ferry landing, then chow down on Vietnam War fare: deep-fried scorpions, coconut worms, and a part of a goat that wouldn’t make it onto most menus. Biking on up the coast, they discover the delicious national dish pho, and crispy Hué pancakes cooked in the street below the mysterious Cham towers. But by the time they reach Hoi An, we’re down to one Hairy Biker; Si has broken his foot, which leaves Dave pedaling a very large Geordie around in a rickshaw. How’re they going to get to Hanoi, now that Si can’t ride his motorbike?

Part Two
Si’s broken foot forces our Hairy Bikers onto the world’s slowest train, crawling towards Hanoi (luckily there’s scorched dried squid for snacks). In Hué, Dave manages to pedal Si’s rickshaw to the Emperors Palace, to cook Paddy-Field Pork, Spring Rolls and Sticky Rice in a monsoon. Then it’s on to Hanoi and the delights of a motorized handicapped cart, ferrying the boys between two extremes of Vietnamese cuisine: French super-chef Didier’s mouth-watering buffet, and a local bar’s own street-food surprise (Si thinks it’s duck, Dave thinks it’s suckling pig.  Both are wrong). Their final destination is the stunning Ha Long Bay, to grill Cha Ca fish and make Crab and Fish Noodle Soup on a junk. With two beautiful Vietnamese twins serenading them with harp music, our weary adventurers experience heaven at last…

I saw the second part, with Si-the-invalid being pedalled around in a rickshaw by patient Dave. What better way to deal with a broken foot and being unable to jump on a motorbike? The boys visited a street café to try the local Hanoi delicacies, but what was that platter of unidentifiable meat? Dog. That’s right, the boys were served steaming pieces of dog. Blurgh. I immediately lost my appetite for anything that once had legs.

Dave being, as ever, a good sport and not wanting to offend the sweet-faced waiter, chomped on a bit of deceased woof-woof and pronounced the taste a cross between duck and pork. However, Si’s face said it all. That was one dish they would not be finishing.

I have to thank you for that information, Dave, as it has removed any need to eat dog in order to know what it tastes like. You may rest assured that on our trip to Vietnam I will be avoiding meals that consist of anything that may once had raised its leg by a tree or been called ‘Fido’.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. WW of W says:

    I love those boys. Just a propos de rien absoluement, they have just kicked off a new series called The Hairy Bakers – a far cry from Chow chow!


  2. epicurienne says:

    WWW, how I look forward to an evening at home with you mulling our holiday tales over a glass of Red Fin. We’re having an amazing time, but you have to pinch yourself every 5 mins or so. In many ways it’s exactly what we expected; in others it’s incredibly surreal. Still, from all accounts Hanoi can just be a bit like that. There are surprisingly many people who looked at us as if we just rolled out of something rather smelly. Equally so there are folk who enjoy practising their fledgling English. Methinks westerners ain’t popular with all northern folk here. Send my best to Well Spoken Friend and try to get a date in the diary! Lots of love.
    PS didn’t have a chance to e-mail Yoda before I left. Love to her too and will e-mail all when I can.


  3. razzbuffnik says:

    I watched the hairy bikers on TV tonight! It was an old episode of them in Namibia cooking croc satay and zebera burgers.


  4. S. Le says:

    The sound a bit like “Two Fat Ladies”, the two overweight British women who had motorbikes, traveled around, cooked what they liked, and had loads of fun doing it.

    Sounds like a real hoot.


  5. epicurienne says:

    Razz, don’t you just crave a bit of hairy biker croc? Apparently croc steak is supposed to be lean and quite tasty when simply grilled. They had croc on the menu here in Vietnam at one place. I was game to try but Monsieur persuaded me otherwise. Wise man cos my tum was a bit um well unsettled for the first few days but drinking local beer has helped me out… Something to do with being made from local water so having the ability to sort out all that gurgling.


  6. epicurienne says:

    S Le – yes they are like the Two Fat Ladies, only male, bearded and without the comfort of a sidecar. They make for highly entertaining viewing.


  7. Esther says:

    I only heard of Dave & Si in 2010 and have watched many of their cooking shows
    like “The Hair Bikers Cookbook” and many more. I loved their shows and found
    them to be funny and real. Keep up, boys


    1. epicurienne says:

      Hi Esther – I agree. The Hairy Bikers are also great because they’re just regular guys with an interest in food and 2 healthy appetites. None of this shimmying around a studio kitchen licking lips and purring “ahhhh, dee lishusssssss”.


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