Happy 2014 everyone! Hope everyone had a great Christmas and are well into achieving those New Year’s resolutions. Minh and I spent our Christmas and New Year’s in Vietnam, and it was an amazing two weeks! We took over 7000 pictures, so I’ll try to put up some posts later this month with our adventures. For now.. here is a recap of almost everything we ate on our trip… and trust me, it was A LOT of delicious Vietnamese food… almost enough to make up for the fact that we haven’t had good Vietnamese food in the 9 months that we’ve been in the UK, and probably enough to hold us over until we’re home in March.
Some of my favorite meals in Vietnam involved pulling up a tiny plastic chair on the sidewalk. Many of our breakfasts were hot noodle soups from small “restaurants” where the host, waiter, chef and cashier was all rolled into one small Vietnamese lady (or man). One of the best things we ate was bánh ướt thịt nướng on the streets in Hội An. This husband-wife duo didn’t even have a “resturant” front. They just set-up shop on the sidewalk next to the river.. her baskets were full of charcoal woodchips, marinated meat skewers, a portable barbecue and tiny plastic stools. The husband was quiet, but extremely helpful. He could tell that Minh and I had no idea what we were doing, so he showed us the ropes, in his own quiet way. As a note – bánh ướt thịt nướng on the streets of Hội An are totally different from what we get at home in California. Another memorable meal in Hội An was our search for bánh bèo. We missed out on it when we were in Huế. We saw some places selling bánh bèo when we were there, but when we actually went to find it, it was no where to be found. When we were in Hội An, we asked around about it, and we were directed to a lady who only sells between 2pm and 3pm on a little side street. Bánh mì stands in Vietnam are like taco stands in Downtown LA.. or maybe more like hotdog stands? They’re everywhere.. almost on every corner. Along with the bánh mì stands, there are friend sweets (donuts, banana bread, etc), nuoc mia (sugarcane drink) stands, and other “street food”. We also stopped into some shopping malls just to check them out. Got some nice sweets, including pastries from Tous les Jours and bánh tiêu from a nondescript mall stand. The redbean ice cream sandwich fish was a delicious surprise.. we had two of these during our cruise around Nha Trang Bay. Of course we had some good meals with the rest of the group, in “normal” sit-down restaurants with menus and seats at normal heights. This includes a “royal” banquet, during which Minh and I payed king and queen! And we also indulged in some non-Vietnamese food… had to try Lotteria, since we don’t have them in the States – nothing special. We had pizza and pasta on New Year’s Eve in Nha Trang. And we got to try this amazing pizza place called Pizza 4P’s in Saigon (we have Victor to thank for this). Burger King was our last meal at the airport, only because it was the cheapest place and we were trying to get rid of as much of our leftover VND cash as possible. You can’t go to Vietnam without getting some cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk). This is probably just half of the coffee that we actually had in Vietnam. It’s so strong and sweet that coming back to normal coffee tastes like coffee-flavored water.