Swans and Scorpions

Lesley in Hanoi

Lesley Greenhill travelled on the hugely popular Vietnam and Cambodia Uncovered tour back in November and was kind enough to tell us a bit about her trip, experiences and share a few photos. Thank you Lesley!

Lesley in Hanoi

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Vietnamese food but was constantly delighted by the variety and freshness of our meals. There was no beige food here. Everything was brightly coloured and bursting with flavour. There are so many interesting food experiences to be had.

Hanoi Old Quarter

One of our most memorable evenings was when we roamed the backstreets of the Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The rain had started and bamboo poles and plastic sheets were erected to accommodate us at the roadside restaurant.

Pop-up restaurant

We ate catfish soup and salad, and drank Hanoi beer while the rain spattered on our plastic tent and the scooters sputtered past on the road – A great experience full of Hanoi atmosphere. We strolled on to another eatery – more of an actual café - where we ate a Vietnamese version of French crepes. These delicious things were made from rice and filled with shrimp or pork with a crispy fried onion topping.

Bia Hoi

They went particularly well with more beer. Finally, we visited a local Bia Hoi microbrewery and sampled their daily brew to top off a fun and memorable evening out, at a remarkably cheap price.

Thanks to our tour leader, Tyler we were able to discover just some of the new culinary experiences that Vietnam has to offer. Here are some which stood out for me.

Hanoi Egg Coffee

No swan here, but a drop of egg coffee

Hanoi - Swan noodle soup! I did not have this in the end, but did consider it for a moment. I also considered the Sparrow salad (you could order it with an extra sparrow if you were very hungry!).

Hoi An Bridge

Japanese Bridge, Hoi An

Hoi An - This beautiful townis home to some great Vietnamese fusion food created by the talented Tran Duc - friend of Tyler - at Mango Mango.

Hue – In the old Imperial Citidel, I ate a divine Mango Salad and finished the meal with French pancakes, ice cream and chocolate sauce – Delicious.

Saigon – A local BBQ restaurant had one of the most interesting menus with specialties that includes beef, crocodile and scorpion. A tiny mouthful of scorpion was enough for me…it wasn’t unpleasant, but wasn’t great either.

Mekong Delta – So much wonderful fresh fruit (mangoes, pineapples, dragon fruit), coconut and fish. We also had pineapple with a salty/fishy/chilli powder dip, which was surprisingly good, served with honey and lime tea and banana ginger sweets.

From north to south there is something for everyone, and a few more things besides! Delicious Vietnam.

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