26/07/17

The (hip) little menu of Hoi An and hidden coffe bars in Hanoi


The little menu, Hoi An


There are a million reasons why I loved Vietnam but food has to be on top of the list. I soon realized that it is not so much about fine dining but mainly it is about just walking around with your nose up and getting inspired by all the different colors and smells of the little restaurants and food stands you find on your way. Do not be scared and most of all do not judge a book by its cover:  I had my best spring rolls, Banh Mi and Egg Coffe in places a blonde European girl should never step foot in...But that made it even more enjoyable if that makes sense.
The only down side though is that you can be easily food-struck by all the choices of Pho there are and maybe fell a little lost (the language barrier doesn't help too) so it is nice to have some sort of guidance.
My tour guide was not into food at all; he didn't care about it and mainly just wanted to show off his dancing and singing skills (so precious btw) so I soon realized I had to rely on my paper guide: Lonely Planet.

My fellow travelers and I were at our 10th day on the road and as much as we all loved squatting onto child-sized chairs and have noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner we wanted to try something that would have satisfied our Westerns' needs but that, at the same time, would have stayed true to the amazing Vietnamese food culture.




The Hoi An Food section was full of suggestion but The little menu somehow instantly stood out. I had a good feeling about it. We manage to find it pretty easily (the great thing about Vietnam is that they have our same alphabet so finding your bearings is never too complicated). We were greeted by a smiling waiter who aknowledged us promptly; it was early in the evening so we didn't have to wait.
I took a moment to browse trough the (little) restaurant and took pictures for the blog and I got some weird looks from the staff who maybe wasn't familiar with the attention.


Vietnamese Meat spring rolls 

We sat down and ordered four beers: Tiger is the most popular and cheapest. I will say that beer is a nice pairing to Vietnamese Cuisine...You really can't go wrong with it. I usually go for tea because I feel like that's what the locals usually have but that night I wanted some alcohol in me.

Stir-fried marinated pork and rice
I started off with a classic: some meaty spring rolls. I have never loved anything so much as I loved spring rolls in Vietnam!They are golden brown, fried to perfection and extremely flavorful. I even learned how to make them....I will defintely tell you guys in the future..They are the best for Aperitivo time.
I went ahead and tried some pork meat accompanied by steamed rice...nothing special.

Vietnamese restaurant kitchen 
I would definitely suggest the restaurant because the ambiance was lovely and warm and the choices in the menu were varied and suited to westerns' palates BUT if you are someone who wants to have authentic food experiences when traveling, unfortunately you would have to stick to food stands or the super small uncomfortable joints in Vietnam. To be honest with you, if I didn't take these pictures I wouldn't have remember what I had at The little menu; I recall spending a pleasant evening with some cool company there but the food....not so much.

The best egg coffe in Hanoi
This is one the thing that will always stay in my heart: the hidden cafe bars of Hanoi. They are small cute local spots run by 2-3 people max on top of clothes stores or behind narrow dark (scary)hallways who offer just a couple of items on the menu, usually coffee and tea.  Stumbling upon one of these gems has got to be, like all things unexpected, the coolest thing ever. Ask your guide or some locals about them!You will feel part of something great...Sipping on a creamy egg coffe (egg beaten custard on top of a thick Vietnamese coffe) or blowing on a hot ginger tea...Sitting on one of those bloody wooden chairs but trust me, it will be worth it. 


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