Friday, April 4, 2008

Saturday, April 5 (9:26AM)

Feeling much better this morning, having breakfast at the hotel. I seem to be stuck on noodle soup for breakfast. It's been on every breakfast menu since I've arrived in Asia. It's really the prefect meal for first thing in the morning.

I want to go back to Laos for a minute before officially moving on the Hanoi. Laos was probably my favorite country we've been in to date, which is saying a lot because I've really been enjoying myself all through this trip.

There was a huge emphasis on food in Luang Prabang, our only stop in Laos. There were ladies making sandwiches to order lining the main street and the evening food market went on every night.

This is the street we stayed on, it's hard to see but all the vendors that are facing the street were selling food. Fruit drinks, coffee's, sandwiches, beer it was really great.

This is the beginning of the night market, it went on for about a block down an alley between the hotel we stayed in and another government building.

This is a grill, with a man cooking fish. They strap the fish between two pieces of bamboo and use the stick to turn the fish. As far as I could tell they didn't gut the fish either. But I'm not totally sure about that.

Jelly donuts are a big deal here. Lots of sweets in general but I thought these were pretty funny amongst all the unfamiliar dishes.

Luang Prabang itself is a world heritage site. The town has so many temples that UNESCO decided to declare the whole thing a protected area. Which means that there will never be any major hotel chains, just local businesses. But it's still a relatively new area to tourism so there are still some kinks that are getting worked out, which are really more charming than a nuisance.

The food is excellent, the sticky rice that is served along with more traditional meals is amazing, sticking to itself and not to your fingers or the bowl. Tasting more like a pasta then any other grain I've had before. The meat dishes seem like they are mostly made with ground meats, which never seem greasy and are all very spicy without either burning your mouth or making you reach immediately for your water glass. Their local mint is also used in most dishes and cuts the hotness of the food in a very complimentary way. Laos also has some excellent spring rolls, they are tiny and filled with various vegetables and glass noodles, a normal number to a serving is six and they are always served cut into even smaller pieces. They are however very, very greasy. Which I enjoyed, but Mum had some issues with. Their fresh rolls seem to always be vegetarian and have a large amount of local herbs in them making them really refreshing. And it's important to feel refreshed because it's extremely hot and humid in Laos, and the sun going down doesn't seem to help matters. It seems like the heat seeps up from the ground. Really, really hot.

Laos was great but we're now in Hanoi. Where the exhaust fumes seem just as oppressive as the heat was in Laos. I'll post later about Hanoi, so far breakfast has been good.

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