11.12.2011 15 °C
It was pouring rain, she wasn't feeling very well and it was a Sunday morning, not really the best recipe for a day of shopping, but nothing was getting in Natalie's way after what she had seen on our short walk Saturday night. There is some history in this town and we might get to see some of it today, but our first priority was checking out the streets full of shops that you can hardly imagine. It is all about custom fitted clothing and shoes here, bring them a picture or a sample and the people here will make you a perfect copy (or a dozen,) whatever they can manage to sell you. The tourists that aren't carrying garment bags are carrying new suitcases that can only be for carrying home the extra (unplanned) purchases. So far Nat has ordered a jacket (it's kind of chilly here,) 3 pairs of sandals, one pair of boots, two dresses and a couple of hats. The girls even talked me into a couple of shirts and a couple of jackets in case I ever end up getting a real job again.
The real hero for me so far has been the food. It has been quite awhile since I have focused a blog on food, so I think it's about time. After a dozen laps around town we had worked up quite an appetite and I had noticed one little spot that I had seen in a few of our books. Miss Ly was reviewed as "cheap and cheerful local goodness." Nat was taking a hesitant approach to the menu and stuck with a sweet and sour shrimp with white rice, fresh veggies and shrimp pulled right out of the water here made for a great meal. I went to the "local specialty" section of the menu and ordered all of it. The "white rose" is a local shrimp dumpling made by one family in town here and served at most restaurants. Topped with some fresh parsley, peanuts and a light sweet chili sauce, delicious. The next plate that arrived looked kind of like 4 giant nachos (actually fried wontons) that were each covered with roasted pork and chicken and mix of veggies and herbs that almost tasted like salsa. Saucy and amazing. Finally, a little bowl arrived and all I could see were Udon noodles...I don't really like Udon noodles. But Miss Ly changed my view of the chubby noodles with one bowl of love. The noodles were "al dente" and topped with pork belly, crispy pork skin, mint, basil, parsley and tossed in a soy, honey, lemon sauce. That won't be the last time on this trip that I eat that. With a couple of cans of Tiger Beer, it was the perfect meal for about $12.
The afternoon was just passing time between meals for me, but for Nat it an sensory overload of fabrics and catalogues. We had three recommendations for tailors and we put orders in with two of them. We found Nat's jacket at one more place and the lady was so nice and her jackets were of such excellent quality and so cheap that we asked her to make us one. We're heading back to her this morning to picket that up.
Now that we know our way around town a little bit, we headed down Le Loi Street looking for dinner. It is in the centre of town and appeared to have a bit of a bar scene that we could check out after dinner. We stumbled upon a bright little restaurant called Morning Glory and it turned out to be a gold mine. The tables surrounded a cooking station that most of the meals came from so we could watch the chefs at work. I think that part of the meal sold us on coming back later this week for some cooking courses. Natalie started with similar version of the nachos that I had had for lunch, but hers came topped with local crab meat and were good enough that she wasn't sharing. My appetiser needed some at table construction as I received a plate of tiny fried spring rolls, noodles, mint, herbs, rice paper and sweet and spicy fish sauce. The waitress taught me how to take the rice paper and roll everything, starting with the fried spring roll, into one tasty wrap of so menu different textures and tastes. I can hardly describe it and it all disappeared too quickly to get pictures of. For main courses, we had a stuffed chicken and a roasted duck that didn't disappoint, tender and perfectly prepared.
Dessert was a tiramisu and some cocktails at a bar down the street. It was run by Vietnamese but had a real english feel to it, they frown on photography inside, but the artwork and vibe is so good, we might have to sneak a few photos tonight. All in all, a great day had by all.