a traditional city known for its tailored clothing
Hội An, Vietnam
After a long windy road up and then back down a mountain we journeyed onward to Vietnam’s rather famous tailoring city. (Debra slept a great deal, and I was reading Crime and Punishment). I was super excited for this town, because I wanted to get a suit made (which I did) and Debra got a LBD (Little Black Dress). Plus we had some interesting food experiences in this very tourist oriented town--some bad, some delicious.
WATER: As much as possible.
Viet Coffee (Natalia): Probably more than water.
Banana Wine: This stuff was so good, I wish I could have found some to buy. But apparently everyone makes their own moonshine. Our entire group went on a bike tour, and our guide Happy Harry had us try some of this spirit. Debra didn’t like it, so I got her shot--plus another shot from someone in our group. Cheers!
Taiyaki: Originally Japanese, but lots of shops were selling them. It was a delicious cheap snack. Basically a simple sweet pastry filled with chocolate or some other filling. Plus a shop was located on the route to and from the hotel. So we may or may not have stopped there a few times.
Street Donuts: Basically flattish fried dough covered with sugar. Tasty, but oh so oily.
Chocolate Cake: I remember the cake being delicious, but I remember the crazy American next to use more. She was a little rude and I was properly horrified. She kept asking us questions and then when we didn’t finish the cake she helped herself to it...suffice to say we made our getaway as soon as we possibly could.
Banh xoai (Mango Cake): They sell these little powder sugar covered treats all over Hội An. I was proud of myself, because I was able to haggle the price down to half! Win! They’re a bit gooey, but the peanut nut filling (tasted a bit like sweet sesame and reminded Debra of Dragon’s Beard candy) was a nice surprise.
Mystery Meat Phở: Well. Our first meal in Hội An was questionable at best. Debra, two people from our group, and I were looking for the food part of the market. Little did we know we made eye contact at the wrong old lady. Asking for directions had us following her around to different stalls (we just wanted phở!) Finally the con came to end at one of the lady’s friends street phở pop-up restaurants. At this point we just settled for it and just enjoyed the experience of getting...phở. One of our friends was properly horrified and was 100% sure we were eating rat or pigeon meat….
Phở @ Streets Restaurant Cafe: This was a cool experience, where you learn how to make rice noodles and then get to eat them! After having a mini cooking lesson, they fed us some phở that the locals learned to make in their program. Definitely a fun time!
Cao Lau: After having dinner with our travel group at a proper restaurant (decent food, nothing special), we went on a hunt for some of the local noodle dishes. Hội An didn’t have as much of a nightlife as some of the other cities, so we had a hard time finding an after dinner snack. Debra and I split this dish, and it was quite delicious. The noodles had a robust flavour and were thick and hearty (the unusual yellowish colour of the noodle is from local ash used in the recipe).
Mi Quang: This was the other noodle dish we were hunting for (also shared), and it was excellent. Phở is tasty, but sometimes you want noodles without soup. The sauce that they used at the stall we stopped at was quite rich. Throw in some chicken and vegetables and it was pretty fantastic!