Food Tour of Vietnam

Fresh spring rolls with shrimp and peanut sauce

Bahn Mi was definitely not the most delicious food I ate on this trip. After the Creative Kid Project ended, I set off for all of the places I had not been able to visit before, especially those rumored to have  interesting new foods to taste. In between I took a bit of time to see the touristy sights, but they were secondary. These were the highlights of the trip:

Ho Chi Minh City (a.k.a. Saigon)...

1083 Beef noodle soup, Saigon style. Much stronger broth than North. Northerners appreciate subtlety a bit too much for my tastes.1084 It's less pleasant but these are some of the photos of Agent Orange birth defects displayed at one of the museums1085 The Cu Chi Tunnels, where many Vietnamese fighters lived during the American War to escape bom blasts1086 Another delicious beef noodle soup, part of a food tour of Saigon a friend took me on. I tried 13 different foods that day1087 Grilled banana pastry for dessert1088 An after-dessert snack. They look like tomatoes but they're not. Some kind of small tart fruit.

Crossed into Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat and the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields...

1089 Some local Cambodian food. Not bad, but a little less interesting than Vietnamese food1090 Angkor Wat at sunrise, complete with loads of tourists in front1091 More Angkor Wat. Someone said it's like walking through an Indiana Jones movie1092 Cambodian food, like Vietnamese food, includes a lot of rice1093 The Killing Fields. The depressions in the ground were mass graves1094 Bits of clothing and bone resurface when the soil shifts1095 The memorial

Back to Vietnam to visit the central cities of Da Nang, Hoi An, and Hue...

1096 Unidentifiable (but tasty) sweets on the bus1097 Fresh clams with lemongrass in Da Nang1098 Roll your own sting ray rice paper wraps1099 Hoi An, the city of lanterns, custom clothing shops and, unsurprisingly, tourists1100 Sticky rice with sesame seeds, crushed peanuts, and sugar for breakfast1101 Noodles and meat again. Never gets old. Actually1102 In Da Nang, a friend's mom practically forced me to eat dish after dish of amazing food

Hue is known for having some of the best foods in Vietnam. I only had 8 hours to try it all. A friend from Hanoi had compiled a list of all of the must-taste foods, so I rented a bicycle and asked the rental woman to mark on a map all of the best places to taste those foods. "Go here now. Then here. Then here. Then go see the sights for a couple hours while you digest. Then at 4:30 be here, 5:00 here, 5:30 here, and 6:00 here..."

1103 Tiny dishes with a sticky rice something topped with crunchy shrimp flakes1104 Rice...and other things

1105 A food vendor in the market who tried serve me one of everything she had1106 More meat and noodles1107 Meat wrapped around sticks of lemongrass, dipped in some kind of gravy, then rolled with lettuce and veggies

And one last shot of Hanoi, just up the street from where I lived all summer...

1108

About Vietnamese food, it did not blow my mind as much as I might have expected, but it was delicious and I could definitely eat Vietnamese food for the rest of my life.