In 1835, the Qing dynasty scholar Cai Tinglan was blown off course in a typhoon while sailing between Jinmen Island and the Penghu Islands in the Taiwan Strait. Cai, his brother, and their shipmates spent a harrowing week at sea before drifting to the coast of central Vietnam. After Nguyễn dynasty officials verified his self-proclaimed identity as a scholar by giving him a mock civil service examination, the Minh Mạng emperor of Vietnam permitted Cai to return to Fujian Province overland with an escort of Vietnamese soldiers. Cai Tinglan’s account of his time at sea and in Vietnam, published in 1837 as Miscellany of the South Seas, is a precious record of Vietnamese society in the first half of the nineteenth century. It contains valuable information about the Overseas Chinese community in Vietnam, the functioning of the Vietnamese government, and everyday life in Vietnam. It is also a story of friendship: once Cai Tinglan landed on solid ground, he found fellowship with Vietnamese scholars and Fujianese merchants. His chronicle serves as a counterpoint to contemporary American accounts of naval misadventures in Vietnam.