Monday, May 4, 2015

First Taste of Hanoi

Along with seven other co-workers, I flew to Hanoi a few days earlier prior to the company outing in order to visit Central Vietnam. We arrived in Hanoi early at dawn. The bus to Hue wasn't scheduled until the evening so we checked into a hostel first, slept, checked out at noon and then had a little taste of Hanoi-- literally.

For lunch, we went to Cha Ca La Vong which serves grilled fish tossed in a pan with vegetables and peanuts and then eaten with noodles and sauce made of vinegar, fish sauce and chilies. It was good albeit a bit pricey at VND170,000 (~USD7.87 / PhP351.40). It was worth a try, though.

In the afternoon, we had work to do so we went to Highlands Coffee near Hoan Kiem Lake. It was a really great place to work because it's spacious and comfortable with just the right amount of background noise. They have free and fast wi-fi as well as power outlets. It's not air-conditioned as are most cafes in Vietnam but it didn't really need any because it's quite cool in Hanoi (at least compared to Manila).

I had iced Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk (ca phe sua da) and it was really good! To be honest, I never understood the deal with Vietnamese coffee before. I mean, we have good coffee beans in the Philippines anyway. However, I learned that it's not just about the coffee beans, it's also the way they prepare the coffee (using a metal filter called 'phin'). Vietnamese coffee is very strong and condensed milk is quite a good way to balance the bitterness. To be honest, I got hooked with it.

Iced Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk (VND 29,000 or ~USD1.34 / PhP60.00)
Tiramisu cheesecake (VND35,000 or ~USD1.62 / PhP72.40)

That's pretty much how I spent my first day in Hanoi. Though I wasn't able to see many places, it was a great one, especially for my tummy lol.

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