Last month I travelled across the globe to the culinary mecca that is Vietnam, home to thousands of independent street vendors, bars and restaurants. I started off my trip in the bustling and vibrant capital of Hanoi. Hanoi is known for its busy streets of cars, mopeds and motorbikes (which can sometimes be spotted carrying a family of four!). You soon get used to the bustling streets and the process of crossing the road (you just walk, and the traffic will weave around you). As with all our adventures, we take our findings back to Leatherhead and use it to inform what we do as a food service agency.
Coffee is a must in Vietnam, I tried many different types including coconut coffee, weasel poo coffee and, my favourite, the egg coffee. I found the egg coffee in a cafe called Café Pho Co, which I entered through a silk shop, this led to a winding stair case and five stories later I was on an incredible rooftop overlooking the Hoan Kiem Lake.
Photos from left to right: Egg coffee; View of Hoan Kiem Lake; Stairs in Café Pho Co
I also went on a cruise to Halong Bay, the UNESCO site and one of the seven wonders of the world. There lots of cruises to choose from, but after much deliberation I went with Aphrodite Cruises who offer a three day and two-night stay. On the two-night cruise we escaped the swarms of other tourist junk boats and visited more serene areas of the bay, which you don’t have time to do if you are on the one-night cruise. I had a 5-course lunch and dinner both days, which was cooked fresh on board the boat by the chef. I tried many local cuisines and was well and truly wined and dined. If you are considering visiting Halong Bay I would recommend Aphrodite Cruises as they offer a great mix taking in breath-taking caves, fishing villages on canoes, pearl farms and of course eating exquisite food.
Photos: Food on Aphrodite Cruise, Halong Bay
Next stop was the foodie paradise Hội An. We spent a few days exploring the streets of Hội An and spent the afternoons on Cẩm An beach which is only a short 10 minute taxi ride away from the centre. We booked onto a food tour called A Taste of Hội An. On the tour we were taken to a food market a little out of town, free from tourists. The aim of this food tour is for you to live a day in the life of a Vietnamese person. The locals go to the market to buy their food (which in Vietnam is done daily, as leftover food is seen to be off). Throughout the food tour we ate a total of 40 different dishes. My 5 favourite dishes were:
1. Đậu hũ – Silken Tofu with ginger sauce
2. Xí Mà – Black sesame seed & water
3. Bành Mí – Egg and pork baguette
4.Bành Bao – White Rose – Shrimp dumpling with fried shallots
5.Mí Gà – Chicken Noodle Soup with lime, peanuts and rice noodles
Next stop Heathrow! I was very sad to leave Vietnam, but I will be back as there are many beautiful parts of the country that I am yet to see and so many incredible dishes that I am yet to try. Follow my foodie account @thefancyfoodie for more of my Vietnamese dishes!
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