Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bitter Melon and Chicken Roti in Phan Rang- On the Road Part 3

Phan Rang is a small coastal city which is located a few hours away from Da Lat.  As you approach Phan Rang the countryside appears to go through a change.  The lush greens of most everywhere in Vietnam turn into sandy wind blown desert with rocky outcrops, scrub brush, and cacti.  Our stop in Phan Rang was brief.  We stopped to eat at a small corner restaurant which served us chicken roti and bitter melon soup.  The bitter melon is gross.  It is really tough to eat and one of the few foods I don't like in Vietnam.  Chicken roti is rice and spicy fried chicken Vietnamese style.  The city is small and we were in an out of it quickly and off into the desert.

These region in Vietnam was at the heart of the Champa kingdom.  The Cham are an ethnic minority in Vietnam now, but at one point ruled the southern coast.  Their kingdom began to solidify in the 2nd century AD and lasted into 18th century, with its height being the 11th and 12th century.  What is unique about the Cham is their precipitous fall from power and their belief in the Hindu religion.  The south eastern coast of Vietnam is dotted with Cham towers exhibiting medieval Hindu art.  The Cham kingdom for centuries was a stop for merchants travelling and sailing along the spice route.  Columbus could have stopped in Phan Rang had he gone in the right direction.

On our way we made a short pit stop to inspect an old railroad bridge and interview some locals.


  1. sounds like you are getting to see alot of the country. wish your photos had captions.
    uncle jimmy

  2. I guess our air force guys missed that one!!! any pics of the "desert" ? JD

  3. No real good pics of desert from me. I'll see if my friends have any.

  4. The old railroad bridge is actually the original highway bridge.