Friday, September 2, 2011

National Day = More Eating in Hanoi

 We got back to Hanoi very early this morning and had a full day and night here before heading to Halong Bay tomorrow. Its National Day today, so nobody went to work or school. Everyone just hung out and ate and drank all day like they normally do, but with some lights and performances in the mix. Another great day of walking around and stuffing our faces!

National Day! Flags everywhere.
Okay, now down to the serious business. Here is what we ate today:
Have you ever heard of bun bo nam bo? I sure hadn't, but dear God is it fantabulous. We read about it on some food blog and managed to accidentally stumble upon it walking around. Bun bo nam bo is rice noodles (obviously, because everything has rice noodles) with beef, ginger, Asian pear, greens, fried onions, green onion, fried pork strings and an absolutely ridiculous sauce. The sauce is a fish sauce base, but sweet, sour and spicy as well. I would happily take a bath in it. The dish itself is not soupy like pho, but there are a couple ladles of sauce in the bottle of the bowl and you mix all of the delicious goodness together. It is dreamy.
she is one special lady
bun bo nam bo
after a good mix
Real life meatstick. Kind of like a meat/pate stick wrapped in a leaf. You unwrap and dip in chili sauce.

We started the day off at Pho 24. Solid pho and the first time we ordered the fried donut bread we see at all the pho places. I'm happy we finally pulled our heads out of our asses and ordered this stuff because it takes the whole pho experience to another level. You throw the fried donut bread into the pho and let it soak up the juices until it is a fantastically delicious savory pho donut. Better late than never.
...and then we put an egg on it.
 Next up was ice cream street. The Old Quarter is divided into different streets and districts. There is a toy street, a kitchen supply street, a silk street, etc. We found ice cream street and went to the place with the most scooters in front of it. We are officially obsessed with sticky rice ice cream and will not rest until I learn how to make it at home.
Kem Trang Tien. Most popular/oldest ice cream place in the city.
Everyone just sits out front on their scooters chowing down on ice cream.
We later stopped for ice cream #2 of the day at a lakeside cafe.
The last stop of the day was another rooftop cafe to watch the madness below. Getting out of there was not nearly as intense as trying to get to the bathroom at a Phish show.