Hanoi – our last major stopping point in Vietnam. When our volunteer opportunity in Vietnam fell through, we had a little over two weeks to settle in and take in a city a little bit slower than our previous destinations. We airbnd’d a decent apartment that was in a prime location – walking distance to the Old Quarter, the French Quarter, and Hoan Kiem Lake on one side, and some museums on the other side. Two weeks in one spot without any particular agenda meant we could finally sit at a cafe for hours to people watch instead of burying our heads in maps and books to plot our next destination. Hanoi was a perfect town for this. A lot less spread out and more walkable than Ho Chi Minh City, with a bunch of lakes nearby so you can enjoy sitting outside, a myriad of food stalls stretching out of sidewalks and a gigantic night market that sold any sort of fake knock-offs that you desired.
This is how the Vietnamese enjoy their avacados. In a shake. We told some people that in America, people eat them raw and sliced up in things like tacos or mix them as a dip for chips. They looked at us like we were crazy.
One of our favorite places for lunch. They served bun cha – a meal that has your dipping bowl of grilled meats in a brothy kind of sauce and then the plate of noodles and a plate of herbs to dip. Also can order a plate of fried spring rolls for more dipping. Two of these meals with two orders of fried spring rolls and two iced teas came to a whopping $4! So cheap and so yummy!
Bun cha with a bunch of the noodles, herbs, and fried spring roll already mixed in.
A little BBQ chicken for dinner. This Ga Nuong (BBQ chicken) alley had eight stalls that just did BBQ chicken. You order with some potatoes and other grilled veggies. After you scarf down some chicken, drop the bones on the ground. Someone comes by and sweeps it up! Place was really good and each table had the homemade BBQ sauce which was sweet, tangy, and slightly sour – perfect to douse on the chicken.