Hanoi City
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Food in Hanoi that I never forget

Our trip is rapidly coming to an end with our departure tomorrow at 2 in the afternoon. What looms ahead is a journey involving 3 flights and a travel time of 22 hours. Chas will have literally circled the globe west to east from her departure 3 weeks ago. We elected to spend the day doing our favorite things in Hanoi one last time........mainly eating our favorite dishes and photographing them to remember the experience. We also had 2 museums to check out today, the first being the Vietnam Women's Museum and the next being the Vietnam Air Force museum. Both were very interesting in their own way. It was interesting to learn about what a large role that the women of Vietnam played during the wars. The airforce museum had some unique static displays of Vietnamese Air Force Aircraft and some wreckage of American planes including a B-52 that had been shot down during the war.

One of our favourite celebrity chefs is Anthony Bourdain. In 2002, he paid a visit to Hanoi and met with Madame Tuyet, owner and famed culinary pioneer of Ahn Tuyet Restaurant. We were lucky enough to book our own private market tour and cooking class with her daughter Chung and English translator Tang. They took us around to their local market to pick up fresh ingredients for the dinner we would be making. What an awesome experience!! We had Chung all to ourselves and learned so much about Vietnamese cuisine.
With the help of our Ha Long Bay tour guide, we had a few recommendations for eating in Hanoi. The first was a popular dish said to originate in Hanoi called Bun Cha. Bun Cha is a dish consisting of chargrilled pork patties and sliced barbecued pork. It is served with rice vermicelli noodles, sliced kolorabi in fish sauce and fresh greens (basil, cilantro and mint). We were escorted up into a narrow staircase to a small room that sat about twenty people. It was lunch hour and there were many people, including the two of us devouring this yummy dish. The second restaurant that was recommended was called Cha Ca Thang Long Restaurant located in the old quarter. They serve ONE dish here and that is all. It is a dish called Cha Ca La Vong. It is steamed fish seasoned with tumeric, shrimp paste, garlic and ginger. They serve it right at the table on a burner adding dill & spring onion. It is served with fresh rice noodles, fresh herbs (cilantro & basil) fish sauce, sliced chilli peppers and peanuts. This dish has been listed as one of the 100 dishes that you must try before you die. If we die tomorrow, we'll have eaten it twice! Chas can't wait to try her best at replicating this dish when we get home.

Service in both restaurants is easy......there is no menu, basically you just sit down and everyone eats the same dish, there is only one dish they serve. Lots of locals dining and a few tourists thanks to recommendations through Trip Advisor make both restaurants very popular. Lunch at either place was about 7 bucks Cdn. including a 1 liter beer.

A few things that we noticed about the Vietnamese culture: They take the time to to enjoy one another's company whether that's over a meal or a cup of coffee/tea. You never see a "to go" cup. They take care of each other. Several generations often live under the same roof. The city is extremely congested yet very clean. The laughter of the children is magical?? We both learned a lot from this trip and although anxious to return home, we will cherish our time here. Thanks for joining us on our journey. We hope that you've enjoyed it.

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