Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hanoi Food Challenge #2 - Day Three

 photo HanoiFoodChallengeButton.pngI had a little break from my Hanoi Food Challenge Number Two, because Monday was a fasting day. I picked it up again on Tuesday, with a start at a phở (beef noodle soup) place just a few doors down from work. This restaurant has been popular with my coworkers for a long time, but for some reason I'd never been!

They have a bunch of different kinds of  phở bò, and I actually don't know what the difference is. I think it has something to do with the quality and doneness of the meat, and what I got was phở tái, whatever that is!

I've eaten a fair bit of phở bò since I've been here, and this was pretty good! I'll be back!

For lunch I managed to gather a group of people and convince them that we should wander down Kim Mã street where there is a plethora of Japanese restaurants. I've only ever been to one of them, which is quite close to work, so as soon as we had passed it, all were fair game. We passed by one which we know to be expensive and flashy, and another that looked dark and uninviting, and then we found Sushi Dai, which had lunch sets advertised outside for 99,000 dong (about $5). Sold!

We went inside and they were pretty happy to see us, as the place was quite empty. I guess that's what you expect on a street full of Japanese restaurants. It also had a bit of a musty smell, which was a bit worrying, but they showed us upstairs to a private room with air conditioning and a big tree in the corner.

We ordered a bunch of iced tea, which we discovered when it arrived was actually strawberry tea. It was a bit odd, but it affected the smell more than the taste.

We ordered various sets, from sushi to grilled fish to beef to bacon to bean sprouts. All of the sets came with the usual salad, miso soup, bit of egg, random weird sausage, and most importantly, pickled onions. A lot of us were very happy with the pickled onions!

My sushi was pretty tasty, but as I think I've mentioned before, I'm not exactly a connoisseur. Christine said her beef had a nice flavour, but was a bit tough and gristly. 

It seems that they have hotpot in the winter (and maybe now too, but the sign was quite specific!)

Another plus side was the slices of melon they brought us at the end of the meal. We all agreed that while it maybe wasn't the best Japanese food in Hanoi, it was still pretty good value for money, as most places on that street would charge about 150,000 dong for a lunch set.

On Tuesday nights we go to lacquer painting class at 7, so time was limited. Because of this Jacqui and I decided to go somewhere nearby, so our choice was Bud Mo Ukrainian Restaurant. This place is set in a lovely garden, which would have been beautiful had it not been so rainy!

I loved all the little Ukrainian decorations, including this mural of people having a party in the countryside!

One thing I love too is the juxtaposition of cultures; these murals were right above the typical Vietnamese altar that every business here has.

Jacqui lived in Russia for a while so we pretty much let her do the ordering!

We started with some "Countryside style" Ukrainian sausage, which was filled with proper chunks of meat and came with a delicious sauce. At the same time we got some Deruny (potato fritters) with sour cream.

We then continued with some pirogis filled with cottage cheese and served with sour cream, and some Pelmeni (ravioli stuffed with meat) with cheese and mushroom sauce. We finished off our meal with a meat-stuffed red pepper.

This was all delicious and didn't feel so heavy, as you'd expect Ukrainian food to. Maybe I was just really hungry!

FYI, they also have beef testicles stewed in sour cream sauce, if you're interested. We passed.

We were on our way to lacquer class so didn't have any, but I'm told this place has excellent home-brewed beer. Jacqui was also drooling over the selection of Russian vodkas! I guess that just means we'll have to come back sometime when we aren't on our way to lacquer class.

That's Day Three! I'll post about Day Four tomorrow...and trust me, it's also a good one!

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