My first trip to Vietnam was in December 2007 (less than a year ago). It was a trip that had a huge impact on many aspects of my life, but probably most importantly, my taste life. (That 1st trip was before I started this blog and it inspired the name saltpepperlime.)
I wanted to share some thoughts and photos.
Vietnamese cuisine is aromatically spicy. I love that. Spiciness that is full of exotic perfumy aromas in nose and mouth but that does not turn your mouth on fire. This to me is a sign of finesse that is sometimes difficult to find in spicy cuisines.
Vietnamese cuisine seems to have a lot of freshness from the salads and herbs that they use in so many dishes-salads and herbs that I have never heard of or seen in some cases.
The first day as soon as we arrived we went to Ben’s market (Ben Than) and had ….breakfast….
Rao Ma the green drink, a bun with the best spring rolls on the face of the earth (and tiger beer to stave off the heat!)
The markets appear well run with relatively good hygiene, freshness and organization.
In the streets in the Pham Ngu Lao district, we found a lady who made Rao Ma that green drink like a Chlorophyll festival (made with some herb that we could not identify in any language)
And a little old lady who carried around and served a sweet soy pudding.
My favorite restaurant (probably in the whole world, at the moment)called Nam Bo is in Saigon. Must be at least 1000 seats and a massively festive atmosphere with the average table seating 12-14 people!
Teams of men working the multiple grills! Snakes being killed at table!
Roast suckling pig was so tender! Even the teeth were edible!
Platters of exotic and delicious smelling things being carried all over the place!
In Nha Trang, the markets were, expectedly smaller, but just as fascinating.
These Banh Cuon (Vietnamese crepes) in the smaller Tien Market were just fantastic. And the little lady who was making them, so proud that I wanted to take her photo as she made her paper thin rice crepes.
The larger central market (Dam Market) had a much smaller food section, but breakfast bun and soup there were really excited my taste buds.
Also in Nha Trang, Vihn and Ha took us to their favorite grill restaurant which was not in any guide book and I don’t remember the name. But Vihn’s chopstick skills put me to shame.
Lunch on the beach was fantastic with fresh steamed lobster, and other sea-food delicacies. Served with salt pepper and lime, of course.
Another little lady brought us cold beer, water and fresh fruit.
A Christmas day lunch unlike any I have ever had.