– Bobby Chinn (Vietnamese Food, 2010)
I strongly agree with Bobby Chinn, a world-renowned chef, author, restaurateur, and TV personality who lived in Vietnam for 17 years just to discover, learn, and master the art of Vietnamese cuisine. He’s half-Egyptian and half-Chinese who was born in New Zealand, by the way. Through his TV shows in Travel and Living Channel (TLC), I was enthralled into eating street food for he is always fond of “eating cheap food next to the locals”. So from my #tosomtravels in Vietnam last April, I braved the streets of Old Quarter to taste all (but I haven’t considering that I have tiny stomach and intestines to squeeze all food in) Vietnamese delicacies Bobby Chinn featured in his shows.
To start with, let’s check out what’s right next to our block. At the back of Hanoi Bluemoon Hotel where we stayed and adjacent to Masks Art Souvenir at 40B, Đinh Liệt, Phường Hàng Bạc, Quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội is an eatery serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between where we frequented. Actually, I was a bit guilty of eating twice or thrice in one eating house only ‘coz I made a vow to eat in different eating houses for every place I visit. But for Com Que, I couldn’t resist!
Com Que serves you the most aromatic and most delicious rice in Vietnam (by the way, com means rice in Vietnamese). Aside from the tasty rice (of course), they also serve a myriad of dishes from vegetables, tofu, seafood, to meat of any kind. Just point your finger to what you like and it will be served to you fresh and hot. A complete meal here only costs 40,000 VND or 80 PhP only. Great value for your money, huh?! You’ll get bloated once you get out from the eatery. Hehe……
These are phở and spring rolls, signature dishes of the Vietnamese cuisine. Phở is not just an ordinary noodle soup that we often get in Chinese-influenced countries. It has a different taste from the mix of savory broth, rice noodles, meat of your choice, green veggies, and herbs. There are thousands of phở varieties in Vietnam depending on a person’s choice as they say, “there is no phở alike” because you will be the one to choose the ingredients you would want for your phở. On the other hand, the spring rolls are wrapped in rice paper with filling of vegetables, rice vermicelli, shrimps, herbs, and spices. They are crisp and a bit caramelized on the outside with a heavenly delight on the inside. These are best eaten with the tangy garlic sauce which adds zest to the intense flavor of the rolls. And where did we find these authentic Vietnamese dishes? Only at Cơm & Phở 12 Rice and Noodles where we only paid 150,000 VND or 300 PhP for our feast in the above photo!
If you’re on a diet, you can skip too much carbohydrates from the rice and noodles without sacrificing your taste buds. There’s this kind of salad in Vietnam that can also be served as one complete meal. We actually mistakenly had it for lunch thinking that it is already the real thing, the main course that is. Hehe….. We just ordered not knowing what we were eating and just asked from a Vietnamese front line associate in a money exchange outlet what it was and she gave us the name through our picture. It was nộm bò khô or dried beef salad.
Nộm bò khô is made of green papaya, seasoned, cured, and dried beef, my fave sweet bakkwa, herbs, and topped with nuts. The dressing is a mix of vinegar, sugar, fish sauce, chili, and other seasoning that gives you a flavor of distinct piquancy. Honestly, I couldn’t understand its taste at first (I only liked the nuts and bakkwa) but eventually, I was captivated by the sweetness and tanginess of its dressing that I gingerly sipped like soup. Hehe…..
We only spent 45,000 VND or 90 PhP for our salad and iced lemon tea at Long Vi Dung (see address in the photo above) so this is also a must-try once you’re in Vietnam.
From humble eateries and street pongko2x (Cebuano term for sitting without chair), let’s proceed to high-end restos. There’s this fancy French bistro at 48 Hàng Bè, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, the Green Tangerine Cafe & Restaurant.
My blogger idol Patty Laurel-Filart went and ate here so I also went and ate here! A fusion of both French and Vietnamese cuisine is being served so that’s also experiencing a bit of romantic Paris while in humble Hanoi. As a charming colonial-style villa in 1928, the place has turned into a reputable resto that most expats and foreigners highly recommend. A 5-course meal here starts at 400,000 to 500,000 VND or 800 to 1,000 PhP. That’s a bit affordable compared with posh restos in The Fort in Manila or Ayala Terraces in Cebu.
On the other hand, stunning night lights of Hoàn Kiếm Lake can best be enjoyed from a bird’s eye view atAvalon Cafe Lounge along 73 Cầu Gỗ, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội. That’s right in front of our hotel.
And now, let’s move on to Vietnam’s sweets. Hanoians are health conscious so fruits and vegetables are always part of their diet. There’s this healthy dessert they serve, the hoa quả dầm. This is the equivalent of our halo2x but their’s is a mix of fresh fruits, milk, and coconut milk with separate serving of crushed ice. It’s up to you if you will put more or less ice to your fruit mixture.
At Trang Tri along Hang Gai Street, hoa quả dầm is only 20,000 VND or 40 PhP which by far cheaper than thehalo2x we have here in the Philippines. Hello to our Vietnamese table mates who entertained us well while they were having their avocado coolers! 🙂
Finally, street food!!!!! I eat street food of all sorts, may it be balut (egg with duck’s embryo inside), isaw(chicken intestines), betamax (pork blood), etc. My aunt doctor always discourages and “reprimands” me into eating such food for I might get sick of diarrhea or hepatitis but God forbid! I just love strolling around with street food in hand! That’s how low-maintenance I am. I’ll just bring Loperamide with me then. Hehe….. And what I found out in Vietnam is their penchant for hanging out in the streets with these am ams (my foodie niece’s word for food):
|Peanuts, Shredded Dried Squid, Seashells, and Sunflower Seeds (Photos Grabbed from Web)|
All of the above pica2x are best eaten with iced lemon tea. Vietnamese prepare and drink tea of all kinds everyday. In fact, it is part of their culture to offer tea to visitors and Vietnamese siesta time means tea-ing time along the sidewalks of Hanoi.
During night markets, Korean street food dominates the scene! But the line of stalls is not as long as Jalan Makanan‘s in Singapore. They have tteokbokki which tasted more authentic than Cafe Tiala‘s in Cebu,
Vietnamese rolling stores also roam around selling fresh produce from the countryside.
Since we’ve reached the drinks already, let us now explore Vietnam’s night life. A street in Old Quarter is designated for this. Bars do line up and thugs thugs thugs can be heard all around! You can even stomp your feet to the beat on the street while walking ’round. But Vietnamese enjoy simple living and only foreigners (mostly Koreans) call the shots!
And these are my #tosomeats in Vietnam! A country rich in flavors and aroma that enticed foodies from all over the world. I really enjoyed eating there because food is not just sumptuous but also affordable. And don’t forget our Ha Long Bay cruise lunch.
To be reminded of the taste of Vietnam, I also brought some of their delicacies home causing us excess baggage in the plane. But who cares? Me and my family are still enjoying Vietnam’s yum yums until now.
|Lotus Nuts, Salt Chili, Cashew Nuts, and Sunflower Seeds|
Finally, this is the end of my #tosomtravels in Vietnam. I really reserved this post to be last because it’s the best. It took me 2 days to finish this lengthy write-up ‘coz I want this to be thoroughly written to also entice you to go and eat in Vietnam. (I’m sorry for not keeping my word in this post last Sunday.) It’s just a one-of-a-kind experience you’ll surely enjoy and I guarantee you that!
Saving up on Asian tour? Make Vietnam your first! Thank you for following my Vietnam journey, my dear blog readers! 🙂 ‘Till next time of our #tosomtravels and #tosomeats!
Eat for your health when you travel! Click here to know 8 reasons why traveling is good for your health!