Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vietnamese Food

I love food and you know that. So when I arrived in Hanoi, the first thing that I asked to the hotel receptionist was,"When is breakfast time?" He said it started at seven. 

Unfortunately, the breakfast was not that good and I had to resort to instant noodle or snacks for the next five breakfasts. But lunch was always wonderful because we had it at the training center and the chef was asked to not cooking pork-based food for all of us, so I felt safe eating there. 

I tried to be adventurous once, and had a bowl of noodle on a roadside eateries. I didn't have any meat with the noodle, fearing that those red meat slices laying around are pork. Anyway, the noodles was great! It was cheap too, only 10,000 Dong (or 50 cents).

Now, dinner could be quite a challenge because we had to do it ourselves. I went out with the Pinay journo Tita to Quan An Ngon restaurant at 18 Phan Boi Chau. The food was great, the price was affordable (I only spent 40,000 Dong or US$2) and the ambiance was wonderful. Here are photos of the food, and me.

This is my version of how to eat Vietnam salad:).

Step 1. Put all the ingredients, the vegetable and the shrimp meat, into the rice paper sheet

Step 2. Roll the paper

Step 3. Dip it into the chili sauce

Step 4. Yum!

A little scary story on Vietnamese street food: I went to a nearby roadside eatery on the second night with Tita and the Myanmar journo Mya. I had seafood, so I figured it would be safe. But as I finished my dinner and walked back to the hotel, I saw several men skinned a dog just outside the food stall and on the sidewalk! Argh. 

That was the most brutal scene I've ever seen. I had my camera, but I didn't have the heart to snap the photos. The process was quick. They slit the dog's neck, put the blood into a small bowl and dipped the poor animal into hot water before skinning it. I felt my stomach churning and I quickly went to my room. Oh well, I didn't know about it in the first place anyway.

In the morning, the view was a bit bearable: it was chicken being slaughtered on the same roadside as the dog. I wonder what other animals face their death on that roadside. And why didn't they do it in the kitchen?

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