Smoked Salmon at the Hotel Metropole, Hanoi

Smoked salmon is so easy to get wrong. Buy the over-farmed or rapid-cure variety and you may find yourself pulling bits of bland stringy stuff out of your teeth, wondering whatever happened to the true taste of the smoked salmon of yesteryear. Get it right, from a fine farmer of happy salmon and the situation flips on its head; silken folds…

The Dwellers of Descending Dragon Bay

As the Vietnamese crow flies, Ha Long Bay looks like a short enough distance from Hanoi (170km), but when you take into account the intermittent traffic and terrible roads en route, it takes a good four hours to get there, one way. Monsieur and I weren’t to be dissuaded from visiting this UNESCO World Heritage…

A Vietnamese Lesson in Crossing the Road

(Traffic in Ho Chi Minh City) Monsieur and I had seen how dense Hanoi traffic was and we’d had a brief lesson on how to cross the road from the caring concierge at the Metropole Hotel. Now we just had to do it. Easier said than done. You see, the traffic just keeps coming. It…

Hanoi – from Honking to Hairdressers

(Hoan Kiem Lake in Central Hanoi. Don’t be fooled by how calm it looks; there are tens of thousands of mopeds buzzing around its perimeter!) Flying into Hanoi saw my nose pressed firmly against the window, craning to view the Red River in all its glory. With such a bird’s eye view it was possible…

Vietnam – Tell me what YOU want to know.

When Monsieur and I travelled through Vietnam some time back, this fascinating country and its people had such a profound effect on me that I haven’t yet blogged about it. Every time I think of our journey, my mind fills with such a kaleidoscope of vistas and tastes and people and experiences that it overwhelms….

Vietnam – if you can catch it, you can eat it – More Bizarre Foods

Here’s part two of Andrew Zimmern’s jaunt through Vietnam, sampling some of the more palatable options of Vietnamese cuisine (beef salad, Pho, civet coffee). Part three involves grilled fish (come on! how tame can you get?), sparrows and scorpions, and ‘tender’ bull’s penis: Part four sees Andrew Zimmern tucking into silk worms and snails at…

The Hairy Bikers in Vietnam

Quite by chance, before leaving on our long-awaited trip I caught an episode of the Hairy Bikers where the bearded lads ‘do’ Vietnam. For any of you who haven’t had the pleasure of watching the Hairy Bikers on TV, Si and Dave are a pair of cooking enthusiasts who travel the world on their motorbikes,…

From Baht to Dong

Monsieur and I are currently on a two-week tour of Vietnam. It’s pretty thrilling, considering we just arrived in Hanoi today and so far the fascination is huge, the public is not necessarily a fan of European faces unless they bring money into their lives, the food is great and crossing the road is frankly…