Sunday, March 6, 2016

2016 Asia Mega Trip - On To Vietnam

Hong Kong is like Asia with training wheels. The long history as a British colony and its status as an international city rivaling New York and London, make it a nice transition. Now we're off for 10 days in Vietnam. The professionals and Pooh Lee Shah Travel felt it best to accompany us on the first leg of our trip, the central Vietnamese city of Hoi An.

Welcome to the world of discount Asian Airlines
During the rest of our trip we will be on a total of 6 different ones
Hello Hong Kong Express :)

After an hour and a half flight we touched down in Da Nang were we went through what is notorious among travelers to Vietnam as the ordeal of picking up your pre-ordered visa. Fortunately Da Nang is a pretty small airport so you don't get the huge lines you have Saigon or Hanoi.
Yup airports look pretty much the same around the world

And we are in a Communist country officially
Then we met our pick-up van for the 45 minute ride of terror to Hoi An...I call it that because the whole traffic scene in Vietnam is a pattern of semi-organized chaos. There are motorbikes moving all over the place. Traffic lights are nearly non-existent or ignored often if they are there.When the traffic gets really tight, drivers of larger vehicles just sort of just make their own passing lanes

Once we checked into the hotel, the Son-in-Law had us off to the restaurant. He's on a mission to deliver a great culinary experience.
This first restaurant did not disappoint. One of the attractions of Vietnam is the food. It is Asian with a lot of French influences from the 150 or so years of French colonization.
The cuisine is generally speaking much lighter than let's say Chinese or certainly Western European.
We had two appetizers
A pomelo salad that was so nice a fresh. Southeast Asian salads in general have a very light a refreshing with quite a bit of acid coming from both the vegetable choices as well as the dressing.
Then there was this crispy omelet
You took a piece of rice paper, but the omelet inside, then added some of all the vegetable, rolled it up like a large cigar and then ate it with a dipping sauce.

We had four main courses that we shared. They sounded really heavy and Wife and I were afraid there was way more food than we could eat but we were wrong. They all came off much lighter than one would think.
There was a beef stew cinnamon flavored (actually not that heavy a spice flavor at all) served with a very good, light crusty french bread for dipping in the sauce.
 A slow cooked pork belly that you ate with this green mango salad accompaniment.

A duck curry that surprised all of us by being a whole roasted duck leg in curry with potatoes and fresh lychee. It was served with rice.

Finally there was a deep fried whole fish with all kinds of wonderful crunchiness that allowed you to eat lots of the bony parts as if they were crackers.
Fish before
Fish after

The open kitchen just behind our table
Then it was through the town to get back to our hotel

We finished off with a drink at the hotel
Thanks Pooh Lee Shah!


Rob said...

We liked HK Express - a bit like Easyjet, but on average the flights are about 4 and a half hours longer :)

That fish did not die in vain!

Tom P said...

And now the party starts! Wait until you see the traffic in Saigon and Bangkok!!!