Hi Elaine! Welcome to our weekly show, Culture Rendezvous. Correct me if I am wrong, but I heard somebody say that the one thing we need to know before visiting Wales, is that it rains a lot. Is that true?
Yes! It does rain a lot. We are a country with a lot of water around us and quite a lot of waterfalls on our country, which makes it very green. We have a lot of rainfalls. We are a country of rivers, lakes, mountains and seas. Wales is a small country with about three million people. We have England on one side and the three other sides we have seas, so water is around us.
Wow! So I guess since it’s surrounded by sea, Wales must have some famous seafood dishes!
Interestingly, we also have something unique, which is a kind of seaweed, which you can only find in Wales. And of course, like all kinds of seaweed, it is very nutritious. I know now in Vietnam, it is very popular to eat the Japanese style seaweed, the dry one. We have the seaweed in Wales called Laverbread, a traditional Welsh delicacy made from laver seaweed. To make laverbread, the seaweed is boiled for several hours, then minced. The gelatinous paste that results can then be sold as it is, or rolled in oatmeal. It is sometimes coated with oatmeal prior to frying. Laverbread is traditionally eaten fried with bacon and cockles as part of a Welsh breakfast.
|Laverbread (Photo: Internet)
What other dishes are unique to Wales besides Laverbread?
Most of our other famous dishes will involve the animals that we have so many of sheep and lamb. So we have a lot of dishes that involved lamb in the cooking as well as beef because we have a lot of cows as well. We have some famous cheese. We also have a famous soup with lamb, it is a traditional Welsh lamb cawl, lamb and vegetable stew, which is often seen as being the national dish of Wales. It is the hot soup for the winter time with a lot of vegetables and lamb. It can keep you warm, because, actually, our climate is not that similar from Hanoi.
|Traditional Welsh lamb cawl (Photo: Internet)
Can you tell us more about the weather in Wales?
In the winter, it is very cold and damp. And in the summer, it is also quite wet but not as hot as here. We have snow on our mountains, and it rains a lot too. It can be an icy wind blowing from the sea. We are in the Northern hemisphere like you are but we are not in the tropic, so we have seasons in the way that you don’t have here. That means at this time of the year, now is our summer time, and it is very light into the evening, so for example over the weekend, you can play tennis until 9 o’clock at night without lights as I do when I at home. But you can’t do that here in Vietnam, because there is no long evening. On the other hand, something that happens in the winter time is that it gets dark for us very early. So it is still dark when we wake up, so maybe by 7 o’clock in the morning it is not light yet and by the time we get home from work or school around 4 o’clock in the afternoon and it is already dark again.
How do people feel about less daylight at certain times of year? Does it really impact life there?
This is terrible for many people, because they hardly spend any time out of door in the daylight. So that is a huge difference. So depending where you are, if you are close to the equator, of course your days will be exactly equal throughout the year, but if you in the tropics there is not much difference. Here, in Vietnam by six thirty, it is getting dark and the suddenly, it is dark, that’s quite different, that’s the thing I noticed most. And people who come from my part of the world say they miss the most that change of light in the season. Not just the change of weather, but the amount of light that is available. And of course that has a big influence on your working day.
Thank you very much Elaine.