“A Taste of Vietnam” from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.
For some upbeat and inspiring footage of Vietnam, watch this video. With an emphasis on the food of Vietnam, this video pairs creative music with professionally shot and edited film. This video is just one of many impressive videos from the folks at The Perennial Plate. Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine, the makers of this video, have a knack for capturing the entire culture of a place while still focusing on the food at large. Maybe it’s because food is such an important part of our identity; maybe it’s because food is such an important part of travel. No matter the cause, this video is gorgeous. And now I want to spend some time eating in Vietnam.
A Vietnamese scientist, Ngo Van Tri of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, has discovered a previously unknown species of lizard in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. While eating at a rural restaurant in this southwestern region of the Mekong Delta, Dr. Van Tri noticed a tank of live lizards awaiting transfer to the grill, after which they would be served with a side of salad.
The Independent reports that the lizard, now known as Leiolepis ngovantrii, is a hybrid of two similar species in the region. The L ngovantrii species are entirely female, and reproduce by parthenogenesis, a form of cloning.
Confirmation of the new species came via two American herpetologists, Lee Grismer of La Sierra University in Riverside, California, and his son Jesse Grismer of Villanova University in Pennsylvania. In a goose chase akin to something out of a “Far Side” cartoon, father and son departed immediately for Vietnam after being emailed photos of the lizards by Dr. Van Tri. Upon arrival, they called the restaurant and asked the owner to hold an order of live lizards, before embarking on a two-day motorbike journey to the establishment.
The senior Grismer told the National Geographic News, “When we finally got there, this crazy guy had gotten drunk and served them all to his customers.” Fortunately, the Grismer’s were able to hire some local boys to find live specimens, and DNA testing confirmed that L ngovantrii is an all-female species. Explains Dr. Lee Grismer,”It’s an entirely new lineage of life that was being eaten and sold in restaurants for food. But it’s something that scientists have missed for hundreds of years. It’s not that they’re not known, locals know all about them. It’s just that they’re not known to scientists.”