The Food Of Vietnam

Last year my wife and I went on the trip of a lifetime: Vietnam. We started in Hanoi, then took excursions to the mountains of Sapa and the caves of Halong Bay. After that we relaxed in Hoi An for a few days before heading down to Saigon. Below are some of the foods we encountered along the way.

This is what I woke up to, looking out the window of our hotel room in Hanoi:
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The restaurant workers are cleaning and gutting the chickens right on the sidewalk! I was fascinated. I must have shot 50 photos of this.

The hotel had some pretty amazing food. There was a complimentary breakfast buffet which consisted of both American and Vietnamese food, complete with a made-to-order pho station (beef or chicken). Heaven. Below are some images of the dinner selections.

Crispy Fried Chicken Platter
crispy fried chicken
Goi Cuon: Vietnamese "Summer Rolls"
Goi Cuon: Vietnamese “Summer Rolls”

By far my favorite part of the trip was the time we spent in Sapa. The mountains were beautiful, the small towns were rustic and quaint, and the food was both stunning and delicious.

I guess pho for breakfast is a pretty normal thing in Vietnam, because this is what we had at our hotel in Sapa – best bowl I’ve ever had!
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Also a buffet breakfast, I followed that up with some veggie noodles, sausage, and sun bread:
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Oh yeah – and some amazing banh cuon (usually beef or pork meat and mushrooms folded into a rice noodle wrap and topped with fish sauce and fried shallots) – also made to order right on the spot, like the pho:
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Charged up from a great breakfast, we wandered around the town:

Snake Whiskey
Snake Whiskey
Streetside Pig Roast
Streetside Pig Roast

Then we took a little private tour of some of the mountain villages, and a nearby food market:

Stewing Horse Meat at the Food Market
Stewing Horse Meat at the Food Market
Lunch Meat!
Lunch Meat!
Chili Peppers
Chili Peppers
Fried Sweet Potatoes
Fried Sweet Potatoes

The highlight of this excursion was the tour of the farming village. We went into an actual village home and hung out with the residents:

roasting corn, and smoking meat
roasting corn, and smoking meat
sacks of meat, smoking and curing
sacks of meat, smoking and curing
pig feed
pig feed

We stopped off at a local restaurant for lunch:

carrots and cabbage
carrots and cabbage
beef & peppers
beef & peppers
crispy pork belly with shredded ginger
crispy pork belly with shredded ginger
nem, or cha gio (crispy spring rolls)
nem, or cha gio (crispy spring rolls)
water spinach
water spinach
boiled chicken
boiled chicken
fried veggies
fried veggies
and a refreshing beer
and a refreshing beer

On the way back we saw a local giving new meaning to the phrase “bringing home the bacon.”
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And a sign for dog & cat meat for human consumption – don’t tell PETA:
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After a long day, it was nice to relax back at the hotel with some fruit, and another beer.
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The next day we went to Halong Bay to explore the beautiful caves there. On the ferry over, we had some homemade snacks and drinks that my wife’s relatives brought along with them:

a ghetto banh mi sandwich - just bread and mystery bologna
a ghetto banh mi sandwich – just bread and mystery bologna
dry, crispy-fried squidlings
dry, crispy-fried squidlings
head cheese
head cheese
some local beer
some local beer
and a salty lime drink, which would be perfect for margaritas
and a salty lime drink, which would be perfect for margaritas

After a day in the caves, we needed some time in the sun. Hoi An was the perfect way to relax after doing lots of touristy stuff. We had some fresh seafood on the beach:

whole grouper with chili and fish sauce
whole grouper with chili and fish sauce

And of course, a few cold refreshing beers by the water:
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Hoi An had an amazing food scene. Check out some of the tasty shit:

"bun" - noodles with pork
“bun” – noodles with pork
shrimp noodles
shrimp noodles
beef noodles
crispy beef salad
crispy scallops
crispy scallops

Here was an interesting food cart that had some fresh breads along with fried blue claw crabs:
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After our down-time in Hoi An, we flew down to Saigon to finish off our amazing trip. This first grouping of pics are street vendors and food market shots:

interesting wares
interesting wares
cakes and such
cakes and such
macarons
macarons
dessert!
dessert!
prawns
prawns
greens
greens
fish
fish
crazy colorful drinks
crazy colorful drinks
night time street food!!!
night time street food!!!
more greens
more greens
larvae, used for food prep
larvae, used for food prep
dried items
dried items
shellfish & snails
shellfish & snails

Then we did a huge sampling of local, exotic fruits. Below you’ll see sour sop, longan, rambutan, durian fruit, dragon fruit, passion fruit, and others:
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On our boat ride to the Cu Chi tunnels, we were served some clay pot pork, summer rolls, veggies and rice:
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And for dinner we had a home cooked meal at a relative’s house:

egg and meat crepes
egg and meat crepes
crispy spring rolls
crispy spring rolls
soup with blood pudding
soup with blood pudding
durian fruit
durian fruit

I tried to limit all of this to just the food, but if you’re interested to see more of my vacation pics (the mountains, the people, the street scenes, the farms, the riverside towns, etc.), then go to MY PHOTOGRAPHY WEBSITE.

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