The latest edition of the national carrier’s in-flight magazine, Heritage, has among its stories on food culture an alarming article on the trionychid turtle. While admitting that, on the one hand, this turtle is a rare reptile, the writer of the piece, Ngo Duy, then goes on to promote its consumption in no uncertain terms.
“Trionychid turtle has more meat than regular turtle and its fat is yellow and tasty. The four legs are considered the best part. The pharmaceutical value comes in the extracted essence of trionychid turtle which is believed to strengthen health and lengthen life. Trionychid turtle’s blood and gall are extremely nutritious. For health-nuts, try trionychid turtle’s blood with ginger, vinegar, sugar and wine! The trionychid turtle can be prepared in dozens of delicious and unique ways.”
He kindly concludes his article by recommending some restaurants in Hanoi where the turtle is served.
Now as much as I’d like to launch into a line or two of invective criticizing the contradiction and irresponsibility of advocating the eating of endangered and rare species, I won’t. I will pose two questions, instead.
Do Mr. Duy, his editors and Vietnam Airlines really want their hands bloodied by the extinction of a rare reptile? And what kind of message is such an article sending to international tourists about Vietnam?