Sunday, July 1, 2012

Vietnam: Foodie Paradise

The food in Vietnam is so good.  So good.  Tim and I were in heaven.  You can get high end, fancy French-influenced food, or you can get tasty, fresh and really cheap street food, too.  Plus everything in between...

Here's a taste (well, not literally) of what we ate in Vietnam, organized by city.  This only covers a very small portion of the delicious stuff we ate... it was hard to remember to take a photo before digging in because everything looked so good!

Da Nang:
 
Dragon fruit, dragon fruit everywhere.  We ate it daily, many times multiple times per day... mmm. 
Even the hotel buffet breakfast (not normally a bastion of good food) had delicious French-style baguettes and cheeses in addition to Vietnamese breakfast staples like beef noodle soup.
Mmmm... pork belly.
The ubiquitous (and rightfully so) green mango and chicken salad.  Super fresh, crunchy, herby and spicy.

Hoi An:

Ridiculously crispy fried spring rolls made with a special web-like rice paper.


Hoi An specialties at Miss Ly restaurant... white rose shrimp dumplings called banh bao, plus fried wontons called hoanh thanh chien (we called them Vietnamese nachos) and fresh spring rolls.  

Ca phe sua da and a flakey chocolate croissant at Cargo Club?... don't mind if I do!

Pork satay and banh xeo (crispy rice pancakes) at Bale Well restaurant, a funny little fixed menu hole-in-the-wall down an alley.  The waitress was insistent on showing us how to properly roll the dish- first a piece of rice paper, then the pancake, then the satay, then the lettuce and herbs, roll and dip.  She would have fed us by hand if we had let her.  She also strangely refused to give Tim a canned beer- only bottled- despite the fact that we could see canned beer in the cooler nearby.  Regardless of the strange service, tasty food for super cheap!


Riverside mango mojito at Mango Mango... mmmm.


Riverside cao lau noodles on tiny stools (notice how the "table" is lower than Tim's knees)... cau lau is a Hoi An speciality using thick, chewy noodles, pork, lots of herbs and these little crunchy croutons.  Many folks claim that the noodles must be made from water from specific wells in Hoi An in order to achieve the best taste...

Hue:

Tasty rice patties with shrimp at Anh Binh restaurant (which may otherwise be resting on its laurels a little bit after a rave review in the Lonely Planet).
Delicious pork on lemongrass skewers to be wrapped in rice paper, plus garlicky morning glory at Nina's Cafe, a cute family-run restaurant essentially in someone's garage down an alley. 
Nuoc mia (sugarcane juice) just outside the walls of Hue's Imperial City.  On tiny, tiny chairs.  Like so tiny when you stand up, they come up with you, still attached to your butt.

Ho Chi Minh City:

Somehow I missed capturing a lot of the food from Ho Chi Minh City, but it was great... banh mi sandwiches, homemade mozzerella, more herbalicious salads...

Dreamy, dreamy pho at Pho Ly, a great little shop Tim found for us.

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