Vietnam Wrap

We came to Vietnam with a renewed sense of adventurism.  Our three-month break from the region gave us more than just a strong desire to return to the land of dollar meals and $20 hotel rooms (Having been forced in Australia and New Zealand to watch our bank account get ravished like a fresh bottle of Jack during our pre-drink rituals).  The trip back to south-east Asia marked a tipping point in our travels.  Vietnam was the last country on our list that we had yet to explore.  The last country we would visit that would give us that spark of excitement as we navigated its unfamiliar roads and absorbed its cultural story.   Maybe that’s why our spirits were a little higher and our skin a little thicker when we returned to the region. (If you recall we had left Cambodia in somewhat of an exhausted state.  Proclaiming that westernized society was the only cure for our jaded lack of tolerance and self diagnosed symptoms of travel burn out.)  Or maybe it’s the fact that Vietnam is a few steps ahead of its geographical neighbors on the road to development.  Their economy more advanced, job market broader, and street hustle dialed down to the low whisper of cyclo drivers trying to earn your business.  The question begged to be answered.  Did we find ourselves revitalized and thirsty for our last drop of travel or is Vietnam just that perfect blend of east meets west?  My guess is that it was a combination of the two that created the perfect storm.

Of course we had the excitement of a fat kid that was able to sneak a piece of chocolate cake in the middle of the night.  Relishing our treat that would soon be taken from us when we are shipped back to fat camp and forced to eat salads.  In our case that would be the regular world of jobs and responsibility.  But it also helped to have buses that were built after the creation of the internet, upscale accommodation, and the option to get a meal that reminds you of home when you want it.  Sure its easy to find yourself discouraged when you can’t find any fucking chopsticks.  But you get over it pretty quick when you’re burping up that tasty chicken burrito.

Top Rated For The Trip:

It was fairly short-lived, but we were both pretty happy with the beaches in Vietnam.  The trip to Ha Long Bay was also amazing.  But what we both agree was hands down the best part of Vietnam would have to be the food.  Even with countless other genres of food available, we rarely strayed from the local cuisine.

Food:

Vietnamese pancake – a thin, oversized savoury pancake made with rice flour, water and turmeric powder, usually stuffed with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts, served with a spicy fish sauce.

Pho – hands down one of the best meals ever!  We both enjoyed multiple bowls of this awesomeness.  We noticed that the South tend to serve the soup with more sides, such as limes, jalapeno/chilis, bean sprouts and plenty of herbs, where in the North only lime and a couple of chilis and no sauces.

Fried wonton – a flat piece of wonton dough deep-fried and topped with diced vegetables, shrimp and pork.  Unfortunately we were only able to find and enjoy this appetizer in Hoi An.

Fresh Spring Rolls – fresh rice paper rolls filled with shrimp, pork and rice noodles, served with the usual fish sauce.

Ban Mi – A French baguette stuffed with vegetables and various meats or tofu.  Best one we had was in Nha Trang.

Cau Lau

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