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 hαΊ£i 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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5 years ago

By: Barbara

A career girl who dropped out, traveled, found love, went back to work and then decided to drop out again. Blogging from Ho Chi Minh City at the moment. With two kids, unexpected but much-loved repercussions of dropping out!


  1. Leigh says:

    Love the story that goes with the photo. It’s amazing what becomes an aphrodisiac – poor little sea dragons.

  2. Great picture. I have such a weak stomach that even those little dead sea dragons makes me squirm!

  3. Nancie says:

    Wonderful shot and I love the story!

    Thanks for posting to Travel Photo Thursday.

  4. Haha god knows how these people come up with some of these aphrodisiac ideas!

  5. Jillian says:

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

  6. Laurel says:

    I’ve seen these scuba diving, but can’t imagine eating them. Love Darling Man’s response about not needing them πŸ™‚

  7. 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!

  8. 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?

  9. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but in this case your writing is certainly as good as the photo! Great job! πŸ™‚

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

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

  12. 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.

    • 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.

  13. 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.

  14. robin says:

    Lovely snapshot – the photo and the story.

  15. ayngelina says:

    Now that is a story! I had never even heard of sea dragons.

  16. LOVE how this is written!!! what a great short story. the punchline rocks πŸ™‚

  17. Marsha says:

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

  18. 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! πŸ™‚

  19. Sophie says:

    Can’t help but feel a little sorry for the dragons. Fun story, though πŸ™‚

  20. Cam says:

    I’ve never even heard of sea dragons? Interesting

  21. Raymond says:

    Is that a sea dragon in your pocket? Or are you…hee hee…:)

  22. Don Faust says:

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

  23. 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.

  24. Randy says:

    Short but oh so sweet! Nice work.

  25. sofia says:

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

  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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