On the final night of Philly’s trip to Vietnam she had the pleasure of sampling the culinary delights of Gordon Ramsey’s friend, Mr Rice’s, delicious food at Old Hanoi Restaurant. From succulent ribs to fragrant noodles to musical renditions of Elvis Presley, here’s her review.
Something you hear all over Vietnam is “same same but different”. This means things are familiar but not the same.
Word reaches of two interesting sounding restaurant openings in Hoi An/Danang – already something of a foodie mecca.
We constantly get asked to reccommend our favourite restaurants to clients and this worries us as it seems to change so quickly. What suits Peter, seems to annoy Paul, in much more pronounced a way than hotels or more general hotel experiences.
Rick Stein did us a massive favour by doing a programme that focused, almost exclusively, on the area that we specialise in. Apart from Laos, all our bases were covered – Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia and of course, Thailand. A big ‘thank you’ to Rick then, as we saw a definite increase in inquiries from the sort of people keen to do something a little different and sample the true flavours of the region – something which we can deliver!
As we walked through Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), or Saigon as the locals still determinately call it, we realised that it is a very different city to Hanoi. While the traffic remains as insane the feel of the city and the set up for tourists is very different.
Arriving in Nha Trang was quite a strange experience as it is so different from all the places we have visited so far in Vietnam. It is a real ‘holiday’ destination (for Vietnamese as well as westerners) and has a Vietnamese feeling of a spanish holiday resort! If you want peace and quiet then this is not the place for you, but we had a lot of fun there nonetheless.
The Victoria Hotel takes these influences and cleverly combines them into its design. The elegant reception has an open, colonial feel and all the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming on arrival.
Like, Sapa, our visit to Hue was short and was more a passing through in order to see some of its impressive sights, rather than a chance to soak up the atmosphere of the ancient city. This was a shame. It is a pretty city set on the Perfume river and the tombs and citadel of the Nguyen dynasty comprise a Unesco World Heritage site.
Hanoi is a very different city to Bangkok. One of the first things you notice is the architecture which is very French in style. Shutters and balconies on tall thin buildings painted in vibrant colours. The other things you notice on the drive from the Airport are somewhat stereotypical. Numerous paddy fields and the Vietnamese “Non” hats made of palm leaves and bamboo. It takes you back to the movies!