I’m coming back, I swear!
I know it may seem like I’ve been gone forever (though it’s really only been two weeks), but I am currently sitting in the airport in Soeul, South Korea, waiting to board a flight to Tokyo and then a flight home to the beautiful and much missed city of Portland, OR. I will write a more in depth post about our trip around northern Vietnam at a later date when laundry has been done, photos have been uploaded, and jet lag has been conquered, but in the mean time I wanted to give you a little preview of some tasty moments from the trip. Enjoy!
All over Vietnam, we saw women selling little plastic bags of sliced fruit – usually green mango, pineapple, or something else slightly more mysterious – and on the 6 hour train ride from Hanoi to Lao Cai (from where you take an hour bus to get to Sapa), I was craving some fruit. This bag of green mango came with a little pouch of what we figured was MSG to sprinkle on top, and cost a whopping fifty cents. I loved the sour fruitiness of the green mango. It was a perfect snack.
When we arrived in Cat Ba Town, we were slightly underwhelmed at the options for food. We ate our first dinner at Bamboo Café, and what with the town being on an island, and looking out over the water, Jonah decided to order crab with tamarind sauce. The crab was relatively small, and we had to do a lot of work for not a lot of reward in terms of cracking the shell and digging out meat. But the meat in the tart, jammy tamarind sauce was delicious, and as we sat finishing our Bia Hanoi, we picked the tamarind seeds out of the sauce and peeled the rest of the fruit off of them. I have a new resolve to use tamarind more often.
Vietnamese milk coffee is basically very strong coffee, almost espresso, with a nice layer of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom that you stir in before drinking. You can order it hot (it’ll come with the little filter sitting atop your cup, the coffee still dripping through) or iced. We found ourselves having afternoon coffee nearly every day. It was not only delicious, but it gave us a moment to sit down amidst the hubbub and look around us to really enjoy the fact that we were nearly halfway around the world from home. The photo above was taken at my favorite café, which we visited twice: Café Pho Co. You go through a silk shop down a long skinny hallway to get to it, order off a menu at the bottom of the stairs, and then climb up about 4 flights to a open air rooftop overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake and a busy intersection.