For my first meal in Vietnam, we didn’t really consider anything other than bún chả, so a few hours after landing in Hanoi, I was already trying out my first bún chả while gulping down iced tea to stay cool.
In many street food stalls, you'll find little plastic stools and tables. Sure, you wonder briefly how you're going to eat comfortably with your knees that close to your ears, but when the food arrives, you forget everything and just dig in. I was born for the asian squat.
This shot was the view from Claudia & Val's balcony. I feel like it captures so many distinctive features about Hanoi. You have the bundles of electrical wires, window shutters, clay roof tiles, tall skinny buildings squeezed together, and narrow alleys (which do NOTHING to deter the scooters from going at full speed, even when going through sharp corners).
Speaking of scooters, that's pretty much how you have you get around in Hanoi. I felt like I saw hundreds of what I'd consider close calls, but apparently the Vietnamese have figured out how to have two perpendicular flows of scooters just weave through each other without collision.
One of our stops in Hanoi was at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum & Museum, which was a really interesting experience for me. Since all of my family members come from the South of Vietnam, this was my first time hearing about the war from the perspective of the other side.
Most of my stops following that just revolved around food. THESE ARE SO GOOD. Bánh tôm (sweet potato and shrimp fritters)!
And then there is the Vietnamese dessert chè. You can find these little build-you-own-chè stations all over the place. My guess is that many would probably be turned off by the texture.
You can always rely on some freshly pressed sugar cane juice on ice to give you a short respite from the heat.
With a round trip Hanoi flight, it was the first and last city of my trip. My last evening there was great. Claudia and Val's friends led us through muddy terrain onto an empty field near the city for a campfire and music. One notable cultural difference was exposed via the snacks that were brought to the campfire. From the Canadians, marshmallows, and from the Vietnamese, fish balls. Both are white, ball-shaped things that you can skewer and roast, so it’s all good.