Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Food Memories: Vietnam

Vietnam was a mixed bag in terms of travel and overall vibe but the food was something other worldly. Never mind that the dishes are being washed on the sidewalk in a bucket in front of the restaurant, or that you have to use the toilet in said restaurant while being eyed by a giant cockroach. I had some of the best meals of my life here.

Fried Crab stuffed in its own shell, prawn cocktail, australian shiraz aboard a junk ship, Halong Bay. I'm undressing those darling crabs with my eyes and just can't wait to get my hands on them. This was a very impressive meal made all the more delicious because of the view. We spent 24 glorious hours sailing around and meanwhile the crew was preparing our meals in a tiny galley kitchen.
Fish croquettes, Halong Bay. Look at the beautiful edible garnishes!

Baked Snapper, Halong Bay. The croquettes and the fish were part of a 5 course dinner.

Traditional Egg Pancake, Hue. This ultra light and crispy egg pancake contained goodies like shrimp, bean sprout and veggies with some greens on the side.

The legendary Pho 2000 restaurant in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. Can you feel the anticipation and excitement!?

Mixed seafood Pho at Pho 2000. This is seriously the BEST pho I have ever tasted. When the soup was served, it was accompanied with dinner plates full of greens: Mustard, dandelion, basil, mint and lots of others I didn't recognise. You grab a handful and throw it on the soup. Soup and salad in one bowl? I was in heaven!

Beef Pho, Hanoi. This was my last breakfast of the Vietnam part of my trip. The restaurant was in the district where they make and sell funeral flower arrangements. Hanoi is interesting as a city because certain streets will all sell the same stuff: Plumbing goods street, Textiles street, Bicycle street, Funeral flowers street, and so on. So beef soup for breakfast it was. This was definitely an "authentic" experience. There were no Westerners about, this restaurant serves only this dish, and it's so popular you get touts on the street who offer to go and get the soup for you at a premium. The soup was fragrant and flavorful, but the meat as you can see was pretty rare and very stringy. It was weird to be eating soup at 8 am with an iced Vietnamese coffee.

In the background you can see the funeral flower arrangements and you can see some on the motorbike ready for delivery.

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