Dried Sea Dragon

Con Dao Island, Vietnam.

Street stalls stacked high with dried goods. Packed in plastic, tied with string, secured in plastic jars. The dried wares are alien to me, familiar to Darling Man.

I stop at a street cart displaying thin twig-like fish. I peer at the dead bundles, horrified. “Are these sea horses?” I gasp.

“No,” says Darling Man. “They’re hแบฃi long, err… dragon fish. Sea dragon.”

I ask what you do with a sea dragon. He trots out the standard Vietnamese reply: “It’s good for the man.” Meaning it’s regarded as an aphrodisiac. I roll my eyes. He says sea dragon isn’t a snack, it’s meant to be put in rice wine.

He hoists the baby onto his shoulders and says something I can’t catch to the stall holder.

“What did you say?” I ask. He grins and blushes. “I told him I don’t need it,” he says, giggling.


Posted as part of Budget Travelers Sandbox’s Travel Photo Thursday.


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9 years ago

By: Barbara

A career girl who dropped out, traveled, found love, and never got around to going home again. Now wrangling a cross-cultural relationship and two third culture kids.


  1. Leigh says:

    Love the story that goes with the photo. It’s amazing what becomes an aphrodisiac – poor little sea dragons.
    Leigh recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday- Would You Like Snake With Your Wine

  2. Katrina says:

    Love it!
    Katrina recently posted..Womens Museum – Part 2

  3. Great picture. I have such a weak stomach that even those little dead sea dragons makes me squirm!
    Sensibletraveler recently posted..Photo of the Week- Bow Bridge

  4. Nancie says:

    Wonderful shot and I love the story!

    Thanks for posting to Travel Photo Thursday.

  5. Haha god knows how these people come up with some of these aphrodisiac ideas!
    Jozef @ Where Now recently posted..The Pantanal Day 2

  6. Jillian says:

    They’re good for men, but what about an aphrodisiac for women? Chocolate seems mundane compared to this!

  7. Laurel says:

    I’ve seen these scuba diving, but can’t imagine eating them. Love Darling Man’s response about not needing them ๐Ÿ™‚
    Laurel recently posted..Why Iโ€™m Afraid to Have Surgery in Germany

  8. Renee says:

    After reading darling man’s response, all I could think of was the contestants on Family Feud screaming out :Good Answer! Great Story too!
    Renee recently posted..TRAVEL PHOTO THURSDAY

  9. Jim says:

    After watching the sea dragons courting dance on Life tv series and then seeing such beautiful animals dried like that, makes you wonder.
    Yeah, why do Asians need so many aphrodisiacs?
    Jim recently posted..This Moment- A single Photo – March 25

  10. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but in this case your writing is certainly as good as the photo! Great job! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday- Urban Light

  11. adventureswithben says:

    I’d prefer to know AFTER I drank the wine that it had Sea Dragons in it.

  12. Nice shot of these weird-looking things. Very amused by your story, too.

  13. Grace says:

    Oh no! I am an avid diver and have not had the chance to see these elusive creatures underwater. They are so beautiful alive and are actually an endangered specie.
    Grace recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday- Puppy Love in Peru

    • The Dropout says:

      Grace, I didn’t know they were endangered. The saddest thing about that is that many Vietnamese people consider endangered species more powerful aphrodesiacs. Plus, I think they think they need to get in quick and eat/drink it while it’s still available.

  14. Theodora says:

    I thought I had seen a lot of these slender, narrow pipe fish in tropical waters: surprised they are endangered. If pipe fish they are.

    But what a beautiful piece of writing, and a wonderful picture, and thanks for the insight into your life with Darling Man.
    Theodora recently posted..Is this the Ultimate Touron

  15. robin says:

    Lovely snapshot – the photo and the story.
    robin recently posted..Tiempo

  16. ayngelina says:

    Now that is a story! I had never even heard of sea dragons.
    ayngelina recently posted..My first tornado is a little devil

  17. LOVE how this is written!!! what a great short story. the punchline rocks ๐Ÿ™‚
    Lorna – the roamantics recently posted..Iโ€™m Still Here- And Hopefully Not as Crazy as Joaquin Phoenix

  18. Marsha says:

    How the hell am I just now finding you? Love this.

  19. Loved the story that goes with your photo! : It seems just about anything you pick up in Turkey is a ‘natural viagra.’ The Turks must be an active bunch! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Turkey’s For Life recently posted..Turkish Food- An Artistic Antalya Spice Stall

  20. Sophie says:

    Can’t help but feel a little sorry for the dragons. Fun story, though ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sophie recently posted..Going back to โ€ฆ Bregenz

  21. Cam says:

    I’ve never even heard of sea dragons? Interesting
    Cam recently posted..Itโ€™s All About Lifestyle in the Algarve

  22. Raymond says:

    Is that a sea dragon in your pocket? Or are you…hee hee…:)
    Raymond recently posted..Travel Photo of the Week โ€” Sloth Face- Amazon- Peru

  23. Don Faust says:

    Mmmm… looks great! I’d try it… you can also throw in some sea horses, starfish, etc.

  24. jade says:

    Cute story! I don’t want any sea dragon in my drink for the time being!!

    • The Dropout says:

      No, I don’t like dead animals in my drinks either. I have tried herb and bark infused rice wine. And banana rice wine. I could recommend them but not sea dragon wine.

  25. sofia says:

    haha what a great punchline! too sad that they’re endangered ๐Ÿ™

  26. […] Post Whose Success Surprised Dried Sea Dragon – For some reason, this post got THOUSANDS of views. I don’t know if it was the title, […]

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