I’m sorry for any of my Vegan or Vegetarian friends out there. A story about the bar with cold beer and killing chickens in Phong nha isn’t forgotten easily. This isn’t the most pleasant story either, but it is one of the more random ways you can find a meal in Vietnam.
Killing chickens in Phong Nha
This was never on my list of things to do, I’m not a fan of hunting or killing animals. Being in Asia though it is one of those odd things you happen to stumble across from time to time. It wasn’t part of any ceremony or ritual either, I don’t see how killing something can be spiritual/ritualistic. The bar with cold beer has become one of those urban legend type places along the travelling route. There is a similar location in Mexico which you can read about here, but which isn’t as much fun.
How I came about killing a chicken in Phong Nha was mainly due to word of mouth. Phong Nha is an area in Vietnam which contains some of the worlds largest caves. The group I was travelling with and myself decided it would be a cool place to check out and explore. We were also trying to avoid Ho chi Minh as it would mean the end of out trip . So we all booked into the only hostel in town and arranged our trip to the dark cave the third largest cave system in the world. You can check out about that here.
Making a decision
While in the town we discussed the options of visiting ‘THE PUB WITH COLD BEER’. This is the location where the owner gave you the option of killing your own chicken. Besides the caves the town didn’t have any other attractions. We were a large group and a few members were vegetarian, but they did like beer so everyone was persuaded to go.
Once we arrived at the bar which was a little rural, we were greeted by the owner, his wife and their two cute little kids. Also running about was what would soon be our dinner. Thankfully there were no larger animals to choose.
As there was a large group of us we decided that three chickens would be enough and some of us volunteered to be the executioners. This wasn’t done out of some sick idea, but simply to prove to myself that if I cannot kill the animal I have no right to eat it. That was my justification anyway.
Choosing the right chicken
Having explained this through some very violent hand gestures the lady of the house proceeded to kill one of the chickens right in front of us. This as a little unexpected and we clearly hadn’t understood each other. Now I was having second thoughts, but I had volunteered. I’m still sure the owner gave me a blunt knife on purpose because the killing wasn’t as fast or clean as I hoped and he seemed to have a great laugh at my expense.
Without going into more detail about killing chickens in Phong Nha lets just say they ended up being our dinner. All of the ingredient were cooked and prepared over an open fire. It was one of the nicest meals I had travelling through Vietnam. Besides the initial horror which occurred, it was still quite a unique experience.
The family who ran the bar had a good laugh. I feel we were not the first and wont be the last to come for this unique experience. So if killing chickens in Phong Nha wasn’t something you considered, now you know.
What have been some of your strangest travel experiences?