With over 3,000 kilometers of coastline, nothing in Vietnam is really far from the beach. Between exploring Hoi An’s old town and sampling local cuisine, we took an afternoon out to relax at An Bang Beach, a long, nearly undeveloped stretch of sand a few kilometers outside of town.
What seemed to be an almost deserted beach, with the exception of about 20 tourists frying in the sun, quickly became a busy playground for locals as soon as the sun dipped below the horizon. Suddenly, there was movement everywhere. Vietnamese ladies set up small barbecues and laid out woven mats for customers to sit on, fisherman took their coracles out to sea, and groups of teenagers started crowding the beach.
Following the smell of something barbecued, Tony and I walked to the closest mat, made ourselves comfortable and ordered pieces of dried squid and fish. A little chewy and somewhat like squid jerky, the popular snack is barbecued and served with crispy rice crackers and chilled beer. I assume the heat from the charcoal brings out the flavor and makes the squid/fish less leathery as the BBQ lady kept heating up our leftover pieces. Whatever she did, she must have done something right. These beach treats were simply scrumptious.