Ah alliteration, how I love thee! Well the title says it all. Once again, I forgot to take pictures of all the food we ate in Hanoi and Vietnam. I would say that overall Vietnamese food is not my favorite. Compared to it’s regional neighbors it comes across as a bit bland. That said, one of my possible all time favorite meals happened on this trip.
I speak zero Vietnamese. Not a thing. I did not even learn how to say hello and thank you before coming here which is kind of a cardinal sin for traveling. So in advance of the trip I did find a nice list of “20 foods you have to try in Hanoi”. I printed it off and we used that to find our first dinner in Vietnam. This place was across the street from our hotel. Bun Cha is pork noodles, I knew that from the list. I still have no idea what nem is. But it looked good and it did not look like fish so we decided to go for it. I will preface this with a spoiler: They over charged us for sure! The whole meal cost about 400,000 dong, which is only like 50-60 ringgets, which is like 10 dollars. But compared to prices everywhere else, it was a huge rip off! I am sure it was because we are orang putih (white people), but it was still an amazingly good meal!
The meal! So our bowls are the ones with the chopsticks in them. You take the noodles, put them in the broth, and add in the rest. There were a few different forms of friend tofu but the all star is on the top of the photo: Deep fried spring rolls! The pork is already in the broth. The herbs you add as well, depending on your taste. Like I said, an amazing meal, perhaps one of my favorites ever, but they overcharged us for sure!
Iris is happy with that meal!
Sorry for the lack of photos on this one. They are somewhere but I took a lot of photos in Vietnam. Then I went to Taiwan and took a lot of photos. Somewhere in between the photos of the food got lost. I am sure there will be another lost files edition of HTLWIM later that will have some Vietnam stuff in it but for now, that’s all I have. Like I said at the beginning, the food overall was good, but it did not blow me away except for that first meal. That one was one of the better meals I have ever eaten for a lot of reasons, a few of which have nothing to do with the food. Authenticity is important but it is not the only thing we should worry about when travelling. I had that banh mi in what I assume was a chain restaurant or at least it looked like one, but it was good. It was a breakfast I ate with my wife and my mother across the street from a 1,000 year old university/temple in freaking Hanoi. The mitigating factors to that make me not care at all about authenticity but it did play a factor in that first meal being so good. Most important was the taste and the taste was amazing, but other stuff comes into it. The two cats playing hide and seek throughout the restaurant. The freaking hair salon in the back for some reason. The dish towels drying on a pipe over the sink. The traffic outside. The garbage truck going by because in Hanoi it plays a song. (seriously. No idea what the song is about but I hope it is a catchy jingle about recycling) All these things and more make for a good food experience.
Okay, my thoughts trailed off their because I was thinking about the song the garbage truck was playing…I think I was going somewhere with that rant but whatever. Time to move on.