The food in Vietnam is outstanding. Fruits and vegetables are a common part of most meals (hurrah!) and all the ingredients are fresh. Very little food is fried and oil is not heavily used for cooking.
It is a far into the future, but when I return to Minnesota and begin cooking I will be trying to use more herbs like in Vietnamese food. Here, soups and other meals are paired with heaping plates of finely chopped watercress, basil, mint, lemon grass, bean sprouts, lettuce and other greens. A lime wedge is common too, giving food the perfect zest. The flavor combination and freshness is tasty every time.
Some of the photos are from places I will blog about in upcoming posts.
For my first meal in Hanoi I was joined by a German friend who arrived on the same flight from Hong Kong. Street food vendors sell pre-made egg rolls that, after ordering, are fried in the moment.
I went twice to a banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) restaurant in Hanoi. Filling, fresh, savory – this sandwich has it all. Plus, it was about $2USD. Because of the French occupation, baguettes are common in Vietnamese cuisine.
At the homestay in Sapa we enjoyed a hot pot dinner with the family. Fresh vegetables were cooked in the hot pot broth. We also learned how to roll spring rolls and ate the food we helped prepare.
Van, the student who showed me around Hanoi, selected a traditional restaurant for lunch. We ate pho soup. We ended our day with a local speciality, egg coffee. This drink is made with a raw egg for froth.
Excellent meals on Cat Ba Island included this huge vegetable and rice dish baked in the oven with Indian inspired seasonings. The banana blossom salad was recommended by other travelers. A combination of shredded fresh fruit and vegetables came together with a light vinaigrette. Just perfect!
In Hue I enjoyed the tasting menu at Hanh restaurant. The server showed me how to roll the foods correctly and which items to dip in which sauces. Regional specialities I tried included white rose, banh khoai, and nem lui.
A great fresh salad in Hue. A chocolate croissant from a bakery with a social mission.
More banh mi! In Hoi An, there is a well known banh mi restaurant called The Banh Mi Queen. Rumor has it that Andrew Zimmern ate here. There are only two styles of banh mi to order here. The version with chili or the version without chili.
Excellent coffee is grown in Vietnam. Coffee culture is also huge – a lovely perk for a traveler because it is always easy to find a place to sit and relax. My new favorite drink is iced Vietnamese style coffee. This means condensed milk is added to the drink. It is a sweet treat.
The beach life in An Bang treated me well.
In An Bang I splurged on a relatively fancy homestay for my accommodation. The meal I ordered for 3 of my 4 homestay breakfasts was another local specialty, cao lao. It is a noodle dish with pork, vegetables, and sauce.
New fruits I am enjoying include mangosteen and lychee. It is as fun learning how to open the fruit and which parts to eat as it is to taste the food. I ate the sweetest mangos in An Bang.
Chicken and rice is a regional specialty in Hoi An. A friend in Ho Chi Minh City, recommended the restaurant where I ate this meal. Throughout Vietnam beef soup, called Bun Bo Hue, is popular. A former colleague said I would see this soup everywhere and she was right! Both meals were great.
More juice! Fruit is still incredibly tasty and fresh. The bottom two pictures are me eating juice on the street. Ice and fruit bought on the street are usually a bad idea but it looked too good to pass up. Luckily no consequences this time.
As part of a tour in Dalat the group visited a cricket farm. We did the tourist-y thing by tasting this food.