Adventures living as expats.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hanoi, Vietnam

A few years ago Jeff's crusty Uncle claimed that Vietnam was the worst place he'd ever seen. Since I disagreed with most of his declarations that day, I decided I had to judge the land of Pho and Banh Mi for myself. Living just a quick flight away gave us just the opportunity. The Old Quarter in Hanoi was our first stop and we certainly had our share of adventures.

For the most part we wandered around the maze of streets, practicing our Vietnamese street crossing skills and trying food we found along the way. Getting across the street is no joke given the hordes of motorbikes swerving, honking, and speeding in all directions. The key seems to be avoiding the large buses and trucks while maintaining a steady pace (always forward) so the motorbikes can judge your trajectory and adjust their direction to avoid you.

Drinks with a view over Hoan Kiem Lake
Snail and clams for dinner at a street vendor, notice Jeff waiting patiently in the top left
Local coffee shop - these tiny little stools are everywhere.
We took a street food walking tour to try some local favorites and learn more about the cuisine. Our dinner included mushroom stuffed rice pancakes, bia hoi (fresh beer), floating cake balls, fried eel with rice noodles, pho ga (chicken soup), and grilled fish.  The food was so tasty, but we had to pass on the egg coffee for dessert since I'd been feeling nauseous since before the tour. That night we'd pre-booked a show at the water puppet theater, but about 5 minutes before the start disaster struck and Jeff had to usher me back to the hotel while I hobbled along trying to keep everything down. Jeff was also hit with food poisoning sometime that night and we spent the next day sleeping through our fever and dealing with our stomach "issues".   
I had tourist written all over me and this lady tried to charge us $5 for the picture .  We settled for  a bag of pineapple for a reasonable $1.
Dong Xuan Market

We recovered just in time to enjoy our last day in Hanoi. After a huge breakfast to make up for not eating the day before, we headed straight for a coffee shop to try the popular egg coffee, an extremely addicting treat that I'm going to have to find a recipe for.

Vietnamese egg coffee - so sweet and indulgent!
The finale of the trip was seafood cooking class where we learned squid cakes, shrimp wrapped in bettal leaf, steamed clams, and crab/pomelo salad.  The food was so fresh, tasty, and easy to make.  Hopefully I can replicate the taste when we get back to Jakarta.

Our favorite was the crab/pomelo salad (in front)
Next up is Halong Bay for our first cruise!

No comments:

Post a Comment