Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday, April 6 (9:50PM)

Today was our last day in Vietnam. We spent it at Halong Bay, which was beautiful despite the crap weather. It was cloudy and dull all day.

We were on a boat that's called a junk. It's this big flat bottomed boat that doesn't move very fast. Lunch on the boat was great, made by the family who operates the boat. Spring rolls, fried whole fish, fried tofu, steamed rice, a weird very glutinous soup. Pretty tasty.

There were a bunch of James Bond movies filmed in Halong Bay, which I thought was really cool. I love James Bond, but I've had some trouble getting into the newer ones, I think Roger Moore was the best, followed shortly by Sean Connery. I had a hard time connecting the actual bay with the movies, let me know if anyone can recognize which ones were filmed here.

Bay with Junk.

Neat looking rock sticking out of the bay.

I've now had the traditional noodle soup pho in both Saigon/Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, and I prefer Saigon's pho hands down. The meat in all the soups I've had in Hanoi has been really chewy and cooked to hell. Granted I did not have enough time to truly search out the best pho in the city, but from my new experience with this soup Saigon/Ho Chi Minh trumps Hanoi.

But even imperfect PHO is still the best breakfast ever.

If I'm going to get into the various noodle soups I've had since I've gotten here, and I've averaged at 1 a day since we've arrived, Cambodia and Laos had better noodle soups than Vietnam and Japan. The noodle soup I had in Cambodia had wonderful spiced pork meat balls and a poached egg floating in the broth. Once you broke the yolk and it mixed with the hot broth it became this wonderful rich lovely soup. Laos was more familiar to me, a bowl of noodle soup with some meats, and then a plate of accompaniments (in my experience usually bean sprouts, chili's, sweet basil and lime) but in Laos it was green beans, mint, watercress and lettuce. The lettuce threw me a little but turned out to be delicious and the hot broth cooked the beans perfectly. I didn't get an image of the Cambodian soup but I managed to remember to take some in Laos.



I'm looking forward to eating at the Hawker Center's when I get to Singapore. That and the Chili Crab. If anyone has any advice on how or what to order while I'm there I'd be much obliged.

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