Just at the beginning of January we ate our way through Vietnam, experiencing one of the freshest and most fragrant cuisines on the planet. We only had time to visit 4 places in Vietnam but they couldn’t have been more different. From traditional pho soups and ancient buildings in Hanoi, to banh xeo and lantern-lit streets in Hoi An and banh baos and busy markets in Ho Chi Minh City, to relaxing in a hammock and eating the freshest seafood on Phu Quoc Island. We had an amazing time in Vietnam and enjoyed its cuisine and its unique culture.
We started our Vietnam trip in Hanoi and stayed for 2 nights in the friendly and comfy Essence Palace Hotel in the busy old quarter. We explored Hanoi completely by foot. Make sure you see the literature temple, the Ho-Chi-Minh-Mausoleum and the Hoa-Loa prison. Also, you have to savour a bowl the famous pho at one of the family-owned restaurants. And after dinner, enjoy a fresh brewed bia hoi. This foamy, light beer is made fresh each day and served in basic bars in the old quarter. Pull up a brightly coloured plastic chair and sip this delicious brew.
After Hanoi our next stop was Hoi an. We had 3 nights in Hoi An, and plenty of time to take in the magic of this outstanding destination. We cycled through rice fields, had a relaxing time in a beautiful spa and enjoyed the dazzling ancient town of Hoi an by day and night. Unfortunately we were not so lucky with the weather in Hoi an. It was drizzling mostly during the day. We still enjoyed the city and the amazing food. There are two restaurants I would strongly recommend! Go and find the hidden gem Nu Eatery in a small passage way in the old district for some amazing dishes! Or make your way early evening to the well known Miss Ly cafe to enjoy some fabulous Hoi an specialities. My pro tip for Hoi an is, to get a private chauffeur who takes you to the imperial city of Hue for the day!
After the rain in Hoi an we finally enjoyed some sunshine in Ho Chi Minh City. We stayed at the fantastic Silverland Yen Hotel with an amazing view over the city. You will notice a strong French influence in Ho Chi Minh City, which means excellent coffee and baguettes. There are a view hidden hipster coffee places which are absolutely worth a visit. Hidden in little passage ways, backyards and stairways you will find the fantastic Workshop, l’Usine or i.D Cafe. All of them little quiet oases in busy Saigon. Make sure you visit the Independence palace with its Bauhaus architecture, the War Museum, Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral. And last but not least look for bargains at one of Vietnam’s most pulsing markets, Ben Thanh Market. If you are around that area try the Ben Thanh street food market or enjoy some great food and retro feeling at the the Propaganda Bistro. Make sure you plan a day trip to the Mekong Delta to visit the floating markets.
After experiencing all of Vietnam’s iconic sights and tasting some of the country’s top dishes it was time to relax. We spent 5 night on Phu Quoc Island in the most beautiful resort you could think of. The Mango Bay resort is an eco resort and was the best and most delicious way to end our Vietnam food adventure. During our stay we were relaxing at the beach with fresh coconuts or snorkeling and paddling through the reef. It was amazing to indulge the fantastic menu of the restaurants and watch the most beautiful sunsets of Vietnam. We stayed in an amazing Bay View house overlooking the beautiful Mango bay. On the first floor we had a fantastic master bedroom with an inbuilt a/c in the bed and huge window front to a spacious sunny terrace. The bathroom was open air and you could enjoy the jungle feeling while you were under the shower. This amazing Bay view house had a second floor with a kitchenette and a huge lounge where you could enjoy the sunset in the evening. This resort really made our Vietnam experience very special.
I really love Vietnamese cuisine, so of course I have a few recipes on my blog. Check out these amazing bao buns or these banh mi sandwiches, or how about a green papaya salad. Loads of recipes to try!