Friday, February 02, 2007

Food Tripping in Hoi An

Yes, based on the previous entry, you should not skip Hue should you ever visit Vietnam. It was a wonderful surprise - but I have to keep trodding on.

My next stop was Hoi An, in South-Central Vietnam. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, basically due to the yellowed buildings and common architecture in the area.

At this point, I think I've had my share of Chinese temples, antique houses, and sweaty tourists. So, I went on a food trip. Hoi An has a lot of little cafes, but the most popular one would be Cargo Club. There was not a single Starbucks that I have seen (Highlands Coffee was the nearest approximation, where I had, duh, an Italian soda. Yummy though.) through out Vietnam, so I definitely had to try their local and famous coffee.

There was strawberry tart, pineapple caramel cake, chocolate croissant. I almost never left that blasted cafe. The local coffee was, for lack of a more colorful description. strong. Okay, let's use the power of print on that one - it was STRONG. Their latte tasted like espresso, and I'm starting to think that their version of espresso would be chewing the actual beans.Ooh, yummy!

I was never a fan of Vietnamese cuisine - I thought that the food was sweet without reason, it had nothing but noodles (badly made ones at that), and there were too many unnecessary greens in the soup. Okay, I take all of that back. Their pho was fantastic - I loved the idea that the rice noodles were a little gummy, a good departure from the usual ramen, and the lemongrass gave the soup the appropriate sweetness.

If I was to recommend one dish from there, I would recommend the white rose. *looks up the food guide to find the local name* Aaah, Banh bao. It's like ravioli, but it's pork wrapped in rice dough, splashed with a lemongrass-citrus dressing, then topped crispy shrimp slivers. Mmmm.

So there, try Vietnamese food, give it a chance, I didn't, and now I regret it. Like one menu claimed, it's not as spicy as Thai, not as greasy as Chinese!

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