Wednesday, August 15, 2018


The next country we drew (I think - catching up on this in 2020!) was Vietnam.  A country in Southeast Asia, it is mostly known to Americans as the location of the Vietnam War (1965 to 1975, American involvement).  It is a long, coastal country on the far east side of the Indochina Peninsula and is bordered by Cambodia, Laos, and China.  From 1954 to 1975, Vietnam was divided into two countries.  In 1976 it was officially unified under a Communist government.

We were disappointed to find out that Geography Now had not yet reached Vietnam in its list of countries covered, so we had to hunt around for different videos to learn about the country.  Here are some that we found helpful as we learned as a family:

  • Vietnam's Geographic Challenge - discusses the geographic location of Vietnam and the influence that has had on its history
  • History of Vietnam - covers the history of the area starting with ancient peoples and going through the its unification (NOTE: some of the history is a little brutal, although it is somewhat sanitized)
  • Vietnam War - Brief Overview - this video sounds like it starts in the middle of a larger show, but this section gives a good documentary-style background and history of the Vietnam War
  • Vietnam War in 13 Minutes - an illustrated summary of the Vietnam War starting back at World War II that talks about a lot of the important individual events, like the Gulf of Tonkin (NOTE: there are a few lesser swears I saw in the writing but not in the spoken, and it does illustrate war, although it is mostly sanitized)

My husband and I also decided to watch Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown episode on Hanoi (Season 8 Episode 1) to get an idea of what Vietnamese food we could try.  He has several other episodes on Vietnam you can read about here (including a list of some of the restaurants and dishes he tried).  It was a fantastic episode, but not one we could share with the kids.

Instead, we took the info we gained from that show and used it to order food from a local Vietnamese restaurant with good ratings and a reputation for being authentic - Berni Vietnamese Restaurant.  We did carryout so we could enjoy it at home.  I don't remember everything we ordered, but we had five different dishes, including Shrimp Sweet & Sour Soup.  It challenged our children's palates, but I thought that was a good thing, and everyone got plenty to eat.  It was far more authentic than I could have ever attempted on my own!