Monday, November 12, 2012

Hanoi Food Challenge - It begins...

 photo HanoiFoodChallengeButton.pngI just came back from a sushi restaurant, and I was there alone. If you know me, you'll know just how unusual that is. I've never been a really big fan of Japanese food, usually feeling like I go to a Japanese restaurant, spend more money than I want to, and leave feeling like the food was kind of, well, meh. Meh, in the sense that I didn't dislike it, but for the amount of money I spent I would rather have had something I knew I'd enjoy much more. So I don't usually go out for Japanese food unless it's some kind of special occasion, when I am with a large group and people who know what to order. In these cases, I usually spend all that money, but thoroughly enjoy myself, trying all the food and relishing every bite and leaving feeling like it was entirely worth it.

All this simply tells you that I don't actually dislike Japanese food, it's just that I have so little knowledge of it that I don't order the things I actually like and thus don't enjoy it. So why, you ask, did I just come home from a sushi restaurant, where I was by myself?

The answer starts a couple of weeks ago, when I was contacted by a couple who are the foodies behind Firstbite TV, a newly-launched website dedicated to the best food in the world. They'd already been to San Francisco and Brazil and were now in Hanoi, tasting all the local food they possibly could in the short time they had here. They found my blog (yes, this one!) and were hoping I could give them some insights into Hanoi's food scene, so I met up with them for dinner one night. By this time they'd been here two weeks and had eaten in roughly 100 places! Unfortunately this meant that they absolutely put me to shame with their extensive knowledge of Hanoi's culinary delights. For someone who loves to eat I know shockingly little about the restaurants and street food here!

I was somewhat aware of this fact already, but this just brought it all home, and so I decided to do something about it. I've set myself a challenge. For an entire week, I am not going to cook dinner for myself at home and I am not going to eat anywhere that I have eaten before. However, I am excusing myself from this for weekday breakfasts, since I am at work at 7am and not likely to go out for breakfast before that! Also, for weekday lunches, I have to be flexible due to time and location constraints (and, I confess, I already failed and went to my favourite Korean restaurant with friends for lunch today) but I will do what I can.

My friends from Firstbite TV were focused pretty strictly on Vietnamese or fusion food, but as a resident here there are just too many food options and food cravings for me to restrict myself like that, so everywhere's fair game to me! The beauty of this challenge is that it's not something I could really ever do if I was living at home in Canada, or in any Western country. It'd simply be far too expensive. But here in Hanoi, where a meal can be had on the street for less than $2, anything is possible!

Stay tuned to this blog for reports on my food excursions this week, including tonight's sushi!

1 comment:

  1. Do it. I am waiting to read all about places I want to go and see the photos, too, of course!!


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