Food is always a major part of any vacation for us, and Vietnam was no exception! As we predicted, the best food was on the street or in food stalls. Although only a few of the restaurants that we tried were above average, sometimes we just needed to escape the street.
What really surprised me was that the meals that we had in our hotels (breakfast buffets seem to be included everywhere, and we ate all meals on the boat in Halong Bay) were excellent. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been pleasantly surprised by food at a hotel in the U.S.
We went to this skewer food stall in Hanoi three of the five nights we were there! You fill a basket with the skewers that you want to try, then they grill them and bring them to your “table” (i.e., plastic foot stool surrounded by mini-stools). Our favorite was thinly sliced beef wrapped around a bundle of enoki mushrooms. They also grill baguettes and douse them in honey as an accompaniment. This place was great because it didn’t require having to interpret a menu. I think that it was on Hang Bong near Hang Manh in the Old Quarter.
Bun cha in Hanoi.
Banh cuon in Hanoi – Rice crepes stuffed with pork and dried shrimp, then tossed with crispy fried shallots. Delicious!
Garlic-showered short ribs at New Day Restaurant in Hanoi.
Mapo tofu at New Day Restaurant in Hanoi. The fresh tofu was creamy and amazing.
Geoduck on the boat in Halong Bay.
Grilled prawns from Hoa Su in Can Tho. This restaurant is made up of a series of bungalows over the Mekong River, connected by wooden walkways. Paco tried to order snake, but you had to order an entire snake (the smallest were half a kilo). These prawns were a delicious substitute.
Speaking of Can Tho, here’s a picture of the main street. Look at all of the little food carts lining the sidewalk! We tried fried beef balls, fried tofu and okra, beef wrapped in grape leaves, banh mi, summer rolls, and sugarcane juice. They also served this delicious chicken and rice dish. . .we had a drumstick but they also served the biggest chickens’ feet that I have ever seen, and chicken heads for the more adventurous.
Combo pho from Pho 24 in Saigon, the only place we came across that served it with tripe, tendon, etc.
Congee was a popular breakfast buffet option. My favorite combination involves salty egg, thousand-year-old egg (preserved duck egg), dried anchovies, and crispy shallots.
Tapioca flour dumplings at Xu in Saigon.
Is there anywhere that you would vacation just for for the food?