Monthly Archives: September 2008
For quite some time I’ve been dying to try Wahaca, a real Mexican restaurant in London’s Covent Garden. Not only has it been voted the winner of London’s Best Cheap Eats by the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2008, but a Californian foodie friend has been recommending it to all her pals for ages. “It’s not Tex Mex,” she insists, “it’s REAL Mexican”. That was it. I’ve been salivating in Wahaca’s direction ever since the first mention.
The brainchild of Masterchef winner, Thomasina Miers, and her business partner, Mark Selby, Wahaca’s aim is to bring affordable, fresh and sustainable food to the table, the recipes inspired by street food in Mexico. There’s a no reservations policy. You turn up, leave your name and number with the doorman, and come back at the time he gives you. Considering you need to queue just to talk to the doorman, this can be a time-consuming system, but the reputation of this laid-back Mecca for Mexican means that even the hardiest of reservation-makers will relent and follow the Wahaca Rules.
First question: what does Wahaca mean? Wahaca is the anglicised phonetic spelling for Oaxaca, a region of Mexico. Oaxacan cuisine is known for its diversity, mostly because its population is diverse. Oaxaca’s reputation as a food producer spans chocolate, cheese, mezcal and moles. If you like roasted grasshoppers, they eat them there. It’s also known as ’The Land of Seven Moles’, for the Mexican sauce called Mole which is a complex blend of many spices, and which varies greatly depending on available ingredients, regional influence and grandmother’s hand-me-down secret recipe.
I reached Wahaca (following two flat viewings and a big delay on the Central Line; God bless our underground system!) just before 7pm. I queued for just under 10 minutes and was told to come back at 8pm. Monsieur was somewhere in Covent Garden having drinks with his friends so I walked around for a while, mainly because he didn’t want to wait until 8pm to eat and wanted me to find an alternative to ease our plan of going to the cinema later, but I admit I wasn’t a committed scout. After all, when the alternatives include TGI Fridays, or Italian theme chain restaurants or pubs full of a Friday night crowd, or extremely traditional British old-school cookery restaurants (a bit heavy for evening eating) or Belgo’s, where we’ve eaten plenty of times. No, moules-frites washed down with Kriek wasn’t tickling my tastebuds that night. It would have to be Mexican, wait or not wait. I met Monsieur back at Wahaca and we went inside to wait in a tiny little area at the bottom of the stairs. We were 15 minutes early for our seating time, but that didn’t worry the buzzy maitre d’ who whizzed us through to our table after just a few minutes.
Monsieur’s first comment to me was this: “They should have a bar. If they had a bar here, everyone would spend money on drinks while they wait for a table. They’re missing out on some serious income here.” I had to agree.
Our waiter was a long-haired ponytailed chap who had that air of having backpacked his way around the world and was now waiting tables until he could afford to take off to trek the Himalayas. I don’t know if my guesswork is accurate, here, but the way he helped us decipher how to order (the idea is to share different plates) indicated that he knew a lot more about Mexican food than your average English waiter, most likely from personal experience of The Real Deal. Before we had time to settle, our order had been taken and in a Mexican flash our guacamole and tortilla chips arrived. The only complaint here would be that we probably needed a serving each, so great was the Wahaca guac.
Our classic Margaritas were served on the rocks in sturdy tumblers with deliciously salted rims, just as they should be. Then the plates started to arrive. We had a couple of crispy tostadas, one pair topped with tender ceviche and another with nopalitos, a salad of cactus with tomato salsa and Lancashire cheese. (Yes, the cheese came from Lancashire to save food miles and sustain local producers. That’s another Wahaca ethos for you.) The taco we chose was called Fish Pastor – each of the three soft tacos contained this fishy mix which looked like shredded chicken tikka, but was in fact fish in an achiote marinade with relish. What’s achiote? It’s a paste popular in Oaxacan cuisine, with a deep rusty colour and distinctive (although not particularly strong) taste, made from the seeds of the Achiote plant’s inedible fruit.
(nopalitos left and ceviche tostadas right)
So far, so good, but the test was about to come. Would Monsieur like his classic enchilada? It would appear so because one minute it was there, steaming in a terracotta dish with a tempting ooze of melted cheese on top and when I looked across the table again, most of it had disappeared into Monsieur’s happy tum. Yes, the enchilada had passed the Monsieur Test. As for a shared side of green rice flavoured with coriander, garlic and onion, I will have to add it to the Epicurienne At Home Repertoire. It was seriously tasty.
Now we had to race to make the cinema (where, incidentally, we started nodding off after half an hour due to end-of-week fatigue), but I would gladly have stayed on for another margarita (perhaps the one flavoured with hibiscus?) and some chocolate dipped churros, had we had no further plans. I’ll have to wait for next time, when I think I’ll also try the Coloradito mole.
I have to say that as far as real Mexican food goes, Wahaca has some serious competition. Happily for this establishment the restaurants I’m thinking of are in New York and Paris, so if we need a Mexican fix in London Town, we’ll be visiting Wahaca again.
PS A few days after our visit to Wahaca, Monsieur had plans for dinner with a friend. They got there at 7.30pm and the wait was already an hour and a half. It was a Tuesday. I guess that tells you everything.
If you ever find yourself in Bangkok, even if it’s just cooling your heels on a stopover like Monsieur and me, you should go on a Bangkok date. In our typically conservative style, there were no lady-boys or she-hes involved in our Big Night Out in Bangkok recently. Nor did we see the need to visit Patpong for a “Thai massage”, if that’s still what you call a rub down with all the very tickly extras. Did we miss out? Not a jot. As the details of our date will testify, Bangkok boasts far less talked-about, more sedate but thoroughly cosmopolitan options for visitors.
First, we dressed up. Off came the Fit Flops that would barely leave my feet for the next couple of weeks and on went the ballet pumps. We enlisted the advice of the team of concierges in the lobby to help us choose a fine place to dine Thai-style but first followed their directions to reach the nearby State Tower. Taking a deep breath we dodged our way across two busy roads messy with every sort of conceivable wheeled vehicle, including Thailand’s famous tuk tuks, stopped briefly to look at the State Tower’s shiny shrine, then left the muggy air behind as we entered the cool lobby which was disappointingly devoid of interest, apart from the presence of Razzbuffnik‘s favourite global coffee house: Starbuck’s. Is it possible to find a city that doesn’t have a Starbuck’s?
We crossed what felt like an acre of marble floor to the lift lobby entrance, where two women changed their shoes to comply with the dress code as their partners tapped their feet. Thank heavens I hadn’t worn my Fit Flops! Once our attire had been deemed passable by the doorman, we waited with an escort for a lift to arrive, and were then whizzed up some sixty something floors to the top of the second tallest building in the city.
The Dome at the State Tower is a landmark on the Bangkok skyline, largely because the tower is capped with a dome which lights up like a beacon at night. It’s also home to a cluster of chic eateries and bars. On the advice of my colleague, Irish Architect, here we were to drink some serious cocktails at a bar with one of the best views in town.
When we got out of the lift, a greeter efficiently guided us past a bar and dining room to a terrace where the Cool Crowd were already sipping on lusciously alcoholic concoctions. No dinky umbrellas in the drinks here! As we kicked off our shoes and tucked our legs up on the super deep sofas at the terrace edge, we checked out the patrons. There was a couple who’d frolicked shamelessly that afternoon in the hotel pool, now decked out in designer gear and obviously quite accustomed to this sort of scene. Then there were the young business people setting up their friends with potential lust interest, but most of the people were incredibly self-important looking, wearing their Do-You-Know-Who-I-Am? sunglasses in spite of the fact that the sun went down a few hours ago and tweedy flatcaps that may be trendy somewhere in the world right now but are laughably unsuitable for the heat of Thailand. It was all quite entertaining.
As Monsieur and I lounged and tried in vain to snap the twinkling lights of the city, we sipped on Martinis. Ah, divine decadence. My first was a chocolate version, but looked clear in the glass because it was made with creme de cacao, and was served with a chocolate-coated rim. Then I went all lemon with a lethal concoction of vodka and limoncello. I so seldom drink cocktails that this felt incredibly James Bond, but there was also a financial reason behind the choice of beverage: wine in Asia is exhorbitantly priced and cocktails prove much better value.
The waitress made us giggle when we ordered the second (and final) round of drinks; she furrowed her brow, looked at us directly and said “are you sure you want another drink? They’re very strong.” In fact, they were just normal cocktail strength, but as most travellers in Asia will attest, many cocktails made in this region taste quite unalcoholic, they are that weak.
We left our comfy sofa to ride the elevator back to terra firma, where a man in a top hat hailed us a cab and instructed the long-haired driver (who’d look less out of place DJ-ing in a nightclub) to take us to The Blue Elephant, the home of the international group of Thai restaurants by the same name. In the London Blue Elephant, I’ve heard reports that girls leave with orchids. Would they do the same here? What would the food be like? Would its reputation hold up? Would Monsieur, a born restaurant critic, rate it well? We were about to find out.
Just to let you know that I’m still alive. Trying to cope at work which is mayhem following the redundancies and my workload has now increased by about 30% (as if it wasn’t bad enough before). My boss is on a well-earned break (we had to push him out the door) but the result of fewer people in the firm means I have too much to do and am drowning. I have a lot to say and write, too much in fact, but it will have to come as and when things calm down a bit. Right now I have to fight to get out of work, Monsieur and I are trying to either find a new flat to move into or negotiate with our landlord to stay where we are and we have families who need to catch up with us now that we’re back from holiday. That’s just the start of it. I’ve never been so in demand in my life. Be patient, people. The tales I have to tell are worth waiting for.
Lots of love, Epic.
Hey there Awesome Readers,
I’m pleased to say that I’ve been invited to contribute to a new joint blog called The Awesome Squad.
Considering we contributors only really started contributing posts on Saturday, it’s already got a lot of weird, whacky and giggly content. Considering that we are in the midst of a Credit Crunch which sounds like a chocolate bar but is actually causing a lot of stress and job loss around the place, I figure we need somewhere to go and let our marbles loose. We may not be everyone’s cup of darjeeling, but at least we’re not a set of graphs or statistics that will make you tear out your hair, suck your thumb for the first time since you were three years old or sit rocking in the corner. No, siree. We are The Awesome Squad, a bunch of friendly nutcases with a different agenda, even if we do call Sigmund Freud a friend.
Click on the link up above or on my blogroll to see how nutty we are, and how much potential we might have to get much, much worse.
In the meantime, please forgive my irregular posts. I, too, am stuck in redundancy-ville, only for the moment, I am the schmuck trying to help people accept the fact that they don’t have a job tomorrow. Life’s rough. It’s emotional. I’m seeing grown men and women cry. I hate it. That’s why The Awesome Squad couldn’t have come at a better time. I may have Blogger’s Block, but sharing a laugh is precious therapy.
Thanks to Danish Doll, I’ve found a new internet toy called Yearbook Yourself. All you have to do is upload a photo and follow the prompts to view yourself (or a victim) in different hairstyles through the ages. Here’s one I did earlier: (I didn’t suit the afro…) I suggest you give it a go. Giggles aplenty!
Before I start divulging the many and different tales from our recent trip to Vietnam, I thought it might help to post the itinerary we followed.
Day 1 Evening flight from London Heathrow to Bangkok.
Day 2 Arrive Bangkok. Transfer to Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Day 3 Explore Bangkok with Driver Daeng.
Day 4 Fly from Bangkok to Hanoi. Stay at Sofitel Metropole Hotel.
Day 5 Day trip to Ha Long Bay.
Day 6 Hanoi.
Day 7 Fly from Hanoi to Hoi An. Stay at Ha An Hotel.
Day 8 Hoi An.
Day 9 Fly from Hoi An to Nha Trang. Stay at Evason Mandara Six Senses Resort.
Day 10 Chill out in Nha Trang.
Day 11 Day trip to Dalat.
Day 12 National Holiday in Vietnam. More chilling out.
Day 13 Fly from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City. Stay at the Majestic Hotel.
Day 14 Day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong River.
Day 15 Last day in HCMC. Fly back to Bangkok. Stay at the Peninsula Hotel.
Day 16 Leave Bangkok. Time to fly back to England.
That’s quite a few flights; seven in sixteen days, to be precise. We did the Heathrow-Bangkok legs with EVA Air, Taiwan’s national airline. Their colour scheme is really quite green, as in seventies lime, they have Eva- branded Hello Kitty merchandise in the in-flight shopping magazine and everything, yes everything is too much trouble for the flight attendants. Still, their direct flights to Bangkok were the most competitive for us at the time and the film selection was so good that I managed to squeeze in 5 on the way back. That’s a lot of film watching I’ve managed to catch up on in one 12 hour flight.
Air Asia took us from Thailand to Vietnam and back. Monsieur and I like the flights we’ve taken with this low cost airline; they’re cheap, efficient and the fleet is shiny new. What we hate about Air Asia is being stung on the excess baggage. We paid $125.00 US excess baggage on our way out of Vietnam. Suddenly those tickets don’t look so cheap, but it’s the way they make their money, I guess.
Vietnam Airlines was our choice for internal travelling in Vietnam. We weren’t delayed once, although the flight from Nha Trang to HCMC terrified me. One of the engines made a straining whine for the duration of the flight, the plane dropped suddenly on a number of occasions and the turbulence was relentless all the way. I admit being white-knuckled with fast-filling eyes threatening to spill over and I prayed most of the way. When we arrived miraculously in one piece we went to church to light candles in thanks. I’ve seldom been so scared or so grateful to step off a plane alive.
When we met up with Adam of Vietnam Travel Notes he told us we’d been very lucky with our on-time departures with Vietnam Airlines. Apparently, their reputation for being delayed is so severe that they’re the butt of many airline jokes. Well, we were impressed and we always seemed to land BEFORE the scheduled arrival time. I don’t know how they do it. The runways could do with some work at some point. Lots of bumps and potholes.
If you want to know anything about our trip or experiences of Vietnam, leave a comment and I’ll get an answer posted for you as quickly as possible.
Everyone who was alive when planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Centre knows where they were at the time. Seven years later, the legacy of that attack is still with us, in our actions, in our racism towards anyone who looks vaguely Middle Eastern, in our fear of flying, in our reactions to media, in our politics. Single for a Reason has a brilliant post without words today, commemorating 9-11. Click here to see Pat’s page.
Here are some photos of the World Trade Center (American spelling on purpose, anglophiles!) that I took just before Christmas 2006.
On the approach, there’s already quite a crowd, including the determined conspiracy theorists.
They must be convinced of their theories to brave the cold December day, standing for hours being booed by the patriots. Still, freedom includes self-expression, no? The scariest part is wondering if these theorists are right. It would make things so, so much worse if they are.
Scenes of that terrible day hold people in place as they stare and stare, silent, at the images in the makeshift photo gallery or reading the timeline, bit by bit.
Many folk come to this part of Manhattan for Century 21′s famous bargains. Some don’t realise they’ll be whammed with a giant graveyard cum building site across the way. Most stop and visit the WTC memorial before leaving to shop. After all, life must go on, but we should also remember.
Who could imagine the horror of completing a day’s work here?
The dead, the surviving, the blamed, the guilty, the innocent, the legends, the insidious legacy that seems nowhere near an end. I feel so bad for the good people in this world whose lives and identities have been tainted by this atrocious event, purely because they follow a particular religion or look a certain way.
Time to leave. Looking out from under cover, Manhattan’s life continues.
And later, beneath a brilliant sunset, it was hard to believe that anything like 9-11 could have happened here, or that a friend’s entire New York team (make that office) at Cantor Fitzgerald was wiped out, or that another friend due for a meeting at the WTC ran uncharacteristically late, thus saving his life, or that a petite friend who hates walking or taking the subway trudged the miles home in high, high heels, but didn’t feel her feet because she was in shock, or that a young man I once met had endured the pain of that final phone call from a WTC office from his beautiful wife, his high school sweetheart, and had to come to London to escape the thousands of daily reminders of that day, or that the emergency services would lose so many selfless and brave individuals as they tried so valiantly to save others. No one could possibly believe it. Not when Manhattan’s beauty remains. It’s all a bad, bad dream. But then we wake up…
and we’re still here. We do not give in and we do not give up. We go on.
Here’s another Vietnam track to jog your memories. It’s one of my all-time favourite Billy Joel songs (along with ‘Allentown’ and ‘Honesty’). I listened to it over and over when I was (um, well) a lot younger than I am now and in the long version, the beginning of the track where the sound of helicopters fades into a crescendo sends chills down my spine every time.
When Monsieur and I were staying in Nha Trang, we decided to go up to Dalat for some Vietnamese golf and on the way our driver pointed out some hills above a valley of lush green paddy fields. He used some uncannily similar words to those of Billy Joel in describing the fighting there. “Americans and South Vietnamese held the day here in the fields but North Vietnamese came down from hills late afternoon and they ruled the night.”
Definitely one for the Vietnam travel soundtrack.
Pat Coakley keeps her readers busy. There’s no excuse for boredom with Pat on the case, inventing new homework for us all with astounding regularity. One of her recent challenges was photographing manhole covers. At the time I took up Pat’s challenge, Monsieur and I were in Nha Trang in Vietnam. Easy peasy, I thought, I’ll find some great Vietnamese manholes for Pat. But it wasn’t that easy. At first, I couldn’t find any manholes to photograph. Not a one. I started to doubt that Vietnam had a sewer system.
Our last Vietnamese city on the itinerary was Ho Chi Minh City so when we arrived I immediately started watching the ground. “What are you doing?” Monsieur asked, forehead rumpled. “Photographing manhole covers,” I replied, as if it were the most usual thing for me to be doing on holiday. “Why?” asked Monsieur, confused once again by his UNusual travelling companion. “For one of my blogging friends.” I told him. Another frown. The blogging world is still a bit of a mystery to Monsieur.
After a while, and only looking up to dodge oncoming motorcycle traffic, I found a Saigonese manhole:
The following day, I photographed a different sort of manhole, this time with a man IN it! That’s right, people, this manhole was so well disguised by dead leaves and undergrowth that I had to find a local model to demonstrate it. Unfortunately, Monsieur and I simply would not fit down the teeny weeny manhole made for teeny weeny Viet Cong, so this chap, with the hips of a Barbie doll, obliged instead. This shot was taken at the Cu Chi Tunnels, just outside of HCMC. The Cu Chi Tunnels were a sophisticated network of underground tunnels and chambers created by the Viet Cong in the late 1940s and of particular strategic influence during the American War.
The tunnels included kitchens where cooking smoke was vented through a type of hole that dissipated it prior to releasing it into the outside air. The Viet Cong also made false tunnel entrances so that anyone trying to infiltrate their underground home would be greeted by a welcoming committee of fire ants, scorpions, snakes and other pain-inflicting creepy crawlies. In spite of the amazing creativity and intelligence behind the creation of the Cu Chi Tunnels, two thirds of the Viet Cong using them would be dead by the end of the war.
When Monsieur and I finally made it back to London, we found grey skies, cold air and constant drizzle. As my mother said: “you and Monsieur have missed nothing weather wise. It’s rained almost non-stop while you were away and there have even been floods.” Yep. We’re back. On Sunday I braved the rain on my way to the supermarket to re-stock our fridge. Naturally, I took my camera so I could photograph a London manhole cover. For some reason, I hadn’t noticed that in our ‘hood they’re all square or rectangular:
The Manhole Mission also made me think of the manholes in Rome, which are emblazoned with SPQR, Senatus Populusque Romanum, or Senate of the People of Rome. SPQR has been knocking around since the time of the Caesars, quadrigas and laurel leaf hair accessories, so this has to be one of the best manhole covers in existence:
Isn’t it incredible how something we walk across every day can become an object of interest once we decide to photograph it for Pat?
For some time now I’ve been pestering my blog-buddy, Adam, for help with planning our trip to Vietnam. He’s been saintly in his advice, recommending all sorts, from sights to guides, whilst whetting our appetite for this amazing country with his evocative photos. How does he know so much? Adam Hurley’s the man behind the blog, Vietnam Travel Notes.
Monsieur and I will hopefully soon be sharing a beer or three with Adam in Ho Chi Minh City, where the former Australian with a penchant for vegemite now lives with his family. Before Monsieur and I set off on this trip, I sent Adam one of my Epic Online Interviews so I could post the answers here to help introduce him to anyone who may not have come across his blog yet. Here are his responses to some of my questions about his life, his blog and his advice to anyone wanting to travel to Vietnam:
When did you take up blogging and why?
I started several years ago after I started learning a little about web design. I love travel and photography, and just found that blogging was more user friendly and less time consuming. Plus I enjoy writing and showing people my photos from around Vietnam.
How long have you lived in Vietnam?
I have been in Vietnam for 7 years now, how times fly!
What took you there?
After spending 10 years in the Australian Army, I just wanted to lose the green uniform and hit the road. I headed to Kenya first where I taught English as a volunteer for a year. After that a friend showed me an ad in the paper for a tour leader position in South Asia and here I am!
Vietnam was my first choice as I had actually never been here, but was really interested in the history and loved the food.
Why did you stay?
Besides loving Vietnam, I met my wife here. We actually met on the train from Hue to Hanoi while I was leading a group. I’d like to say she fell for me straight away, but it I think it was the other way! We now live in HCMC and have a 2 year old son.
You’re a native of Australia. Will you ever return?
Maybe one day, we have no immediate plans for going back. Perhaps once our son is older, we’ll look at Australia, especially for his education.
What do you miss most about Australia?
Not a lot really! Family and friends I miss of course. One thing do I miss is a good Aussie style pub and live music! It can be hard to find in Vietnam.
Name three things that made you fall in love with Vietnam.
1 .The people are amazing in this country, really friendly and welcoming. This is probably the one thing I love most about Vietnam.
2. Food – you’ll never go hungry with so much choice and the fresh seafood is to die for!
3. The craziness of Vietnam (and Asia as a whole) is also something I love. Every day is different, every trip the market is chaotic, but it’s what Vietnam and Asia is all about! Where else are you going to see buffalo’s on motor bikes?
(Epic note – he’s not kidding. We’ve seen buffalo on the back of a mo-ped, a crate of 3 full-grown swine, a massive cage of poultry – all clucking away, and a lot more. You don’t book a van here. You stick it on your two wheeler with anything that will hold it vaguely in place.)
Do you like Vegemite?
(Hope you’re reading this, Wise Woman…)
Can you buy Vegemite in HCMC?
To date we are struggling to find Vegemite in HCMC. There are a few places in Hanoi where you can get it. But the bottom line is, if you visiting Vietnam please bring a large jar for me, my contact details are on my blog!
What’s your comfort food?
With out a doubt – Lamb Roast! T-Bone Steaks rate highly as does a feed of Italian.
Cheese cake to finish!
Where is your favourite place to eat in HCMC and why?
Some many! For western fixes I like Wild Horse in District 1. They do great lamb and steaks!
For Vietnamese we tend to hang out in District 3 along Ly Van Si Street which has a huge range of places to choice from. There’s also lots of great food to had around District 5 (China Town).
If you could recommend one souvenir of Vietnam, what would it be?
Paintings are my favourite souvenir, simply because they tend to showcase the country you visit, plus they’re easy to carry home.
The Vietnamese Conical hats are a great thing to buy as well; they also make fantastic lamp shades if you’re in to handicrafts.
What’s the most frustrating thing about living in such a foreign culture?
The one thing I hate (and I don’t like to use the word too much!) is people spitting, it’s horrible, but men especially, continue to do it. Also there is a lot of urinating in public!
I remember reading somewhere about Vietnam, “If you hold hands or kiss you partner in the street people will be shocked, but if you urinate against the lamp post or on the side of the road, no one will look twice!”
What is the biggest change you’ve witnessed in Vietnam in the past five years?
I would have to say the people. Some 60% of the population were born after the Vietnam War ended and many are beginning to/have been influenced by Western ideas and ways of life. Their dress, the way people talk and act, where people hang out it’s all very different to when I first arrived.
There are tons more cars on the road now as well. This causes plenty of congestion, pollution and problems such as parking.
Are you now fluent in Vietnamese?
I would be lying if I said I was fluent! But I can definitely get into trouble and out of trouble!
What’s the best aspect of the Vietnamese people?
They are a just happy, friendly, welcoming people.
Do you ride a mo-ped in HCMC? If so, have you ever crashed?
I do ride yes! It’s great fun. I haven’t had any major crashes yet (touch wood) but one or two minor bumps with no damage or injuries. Vietnam only made it law on the 17th December 2007 that rider and passenger must wear helmets. Before that you just wore a peaked cap!
What’s the worst thing a foreigner could do when visiting Vietnam?
It’s actually really hard to upset Vietnamese in general. But a few that help include:
· Dress conservatively when visiting homes, pagodas and historical sites.
· Remove hats/shoes when entering a house or pagoda.
· Never get angry. Loss of face in Vietnam is huge.
· Don’t be shy, ask questions and chat about whatever. Just do so with a big smile.
· Don’t hang out in District 1; visit other areas like District 5 (China Town), District 3 (great food) or get the car ferry across to District 2 and have a wander (great photos).
Is the Vietnam War a conversational no-go in Vietnam?
Not really, if you are friendly and easy going most will talk about it. That said, much of the population was born after the war so they are quite happy to talk about the war or anything else (within reason)
Name three of your favourite ingredients in a Vietnamese market.
2. Fish Sauce (don’t like the smell, but it’s great in cooking!)
3. Fresh fruit. It looks great, taste great and is so cheap!
Where will your next holiday take you?
Destination unknown! I would love to go to Myanmar and my wife wants to visit Angkor Wat.
So I guess Cambodia is next………………!
If you could change one thing about blogging culture, what would it be?
I actually wish everything would slow down so I could keep up with it!