Arriving in Hanoi- Wow what a culture shock. Buzzing, bustly, noisy, dishevelled. Motorbikes everywhere, people sat on their haunches working on what they can to make a small living. everything from shoe shining, haircuts on the street, bike repairs and most interesting of all, street food and tonnes of it! Each serve one speciality be it noodles, quickly fried together with meet, garlic and loads of herbs in a hot wok to produce a delicious dish…
A Rich and Varied Palate
Salads bursting with flavour containing coriander, Vietnamese basil a dressing of there staple sauce (fish sauce, sugar, water, chilli, garlic, coriander and lemon) with crunchy peanuts and crispy shallots which add texture and a another dimension… Another local classic is the Vietnamese baguette, this is loaded with pate, bbq pork, herbs and onions with lashings of an incredible fragrant sauce…Then there’s Frogs legs deep fried in spices that make them taste sensational…Pork belly served with pickled onions which cut through the fat perfectly… DIY BBQ marinated goat which you cook yourself over hot stones. then wrap in a leaf with again a Varity of herbs…Dumplings…rice cakes typical to hue…Vietnamese pancakes stuffed with meat and vegetables and herbs to wrap yourself with rice paper… Skewered meats with peanut dipping sauce…Summer rolls… Spring rolls… beef stews…chicken rice…their fantastic Pho – amazing for breakfast as they traditionally eat it there.
The dishes are incredibly varied and there are so many different ones all interesting in their own right. These are all eaten on the side of a dusty street on tiny plastic chairs washed down with refreshing local beer.
The common ingredient and staple of Vietnamese cooking is the fish sauce which occurs in every dish one way or another along with aromatic herbs and lemongrass. Vietnamese food is only slightly spiced unlike its neighbouring Thai cuisine. It’s so flavoursome and tasty that returning home was difficult. Foods seeming tasteless and bland in comparison. Only having been home a week we have already sought out Vietnamese restaurants near by to get our flavour fix!
New Culinary Insights
We met with a food blogger for a street food tour in Hanoi and this gave us a real insight to their cuisine. He gave us recommendations for each place we visited on our trip after that, both street food and restaurants so we followed his lead to have a great culinary experience. Another stand out point of the trip was the Vietnamese coffee, they take great pride in their coffee and coffee shops And the biggest joy of all were the people, so gracious, smiley, friendly, helpful and welcoming.
History plays a big part of the experience too. Overall Vietnam is a glorious country not to be missed!!