On day 5 of my Hanoi Food Challenge (Thursday) I didn't have to be at work early so instead of my usual fruit, muesli, and yogurt at home, I stopped just outside of work and got a bánh mỳ trứng (egg sandwich).
This comes from a lady at a little stand she's set up on the side of the road, complete with little plastic stools and a tra da (iced tea) lady sitting next to her.
She thought it was rather odd that I wanted to take her picture, and ducked behind the stand as I did. She then tried asking me all kinds of questions in Vietnamese, which is difficult for me at the best of times but first thing in the morning is nearly impossible for me to manage, and I think she thought I was a student at RMIT, rather than a teacher. Oh well.
She did make me a delicious egg sandwich, stuffed full of omelet-style egg, carrot, cucumber, radish, and cilantro (coriander), and topped off with chili sauce. Yummy.
At lunchtime I wandered out by myself to find something new. After not finding anything too new or inspiring I ended up at a bún chả place. Unfortunately as per the rules of the challenge I could not go to our usual bún chả restaurant (known to us as "Celebrity" bún chả , for some reason unknown to me) and this place was ok but still made me realize why we never venture away from our favourite bún chả place!
|The inside looking out.|
Bún chả usually has two kinds of meat - slices of pork and minced pork patties.
|Bún chả with all the fixings.|
This bún chả had both kinds of meat, but it was all less flavourful than usual and the sliced pork was too fatty and gristly to be eaten easily.
By Thursday night I was feeling quite tired and didn't want to go too far for food. In fact, I really was tempted to just go home and cook myself something very simple, but I stuck it out, waited for my friend Ron to finish work, and convinced him to go out for dinner with me. He brought along Liam, and we all met up at a Spanish restaurant not too far from work.
We started off by ordering sangria, which automatically cheered us all up (as you can see from Ron's smile here!)
We followed that with a salad and I ordered stewed oxtail while the boys both had bò sốt vang (beef in red wine sauce).
The salad was ok but nothing special. My oxtail stew was tasty but a bit on the salty side, and had more fat and skin in it than meat (Is that how it's supposed to be? I really don't know!) and the boys seemed to enjoy their meal, but were disappointed that there was absolutely nothing in it besides meat and sauce.
But that was all ok, because by then the sangria started to take effect, and Ron started threatening Liam with a baguette!
After dinner we weren't ready to go home yet, so we went down the road a bit for a margarita.
These were pretty good margaritas for Hanoi, and pretty cheap too, I think!
Of course one margarita turned into three, but despite that and the sangria I thankfully woke up feeling just fine the next day!
Reports on the last two days of my challenge are coming soon!