Tag Archives: Vietnamese food

V is for Vietnam

image

 

For our honeymoon we went to Vietnam. It was a challenge fitting even a fraction of what I wanted to see there into those two weeks, but I was determined to try.

We started in Hanoi, spending two days walking around the city, soaking up the sights and smells and flavours. That was where I took this picture: just another selection of wares in a pavement stall, but one that with its seafood and herbs and vegetables sums up what I love about Vietnamese food. I love the colours and textures in this picture too, and the shapes – all those circles full of promise.

So much of our trip was about the food, really. That was what had inspired us to go in the first place – the pho and the summer rolls and the banh cuon we’d enjoyed in restaurants in Hackney. We had a Vietnamese supermarket near us there too, but it was wonderful to see all of the ingredients in their homeland.

By the time we left, we’d sampled all sorts of new dishes, successfully dodging the peanuts that would have triggered an allergic reaction to discover a huge range of exciting tastes. We’d seen noodles being made, rice paper rounds drying in the sun, prawns being crushed to create the pungent paste that was seemingly at the base of everything. We’d learnt to cook some new dishes as well: spicy seafood hotpot, and even those delicious banh cuon – delicate and slippery steamed rolls filled with prawns and pork.

I’d love to go back, and not just for the food. It is such a beautiful country – and so steeped in history. Hopefully one day, when Arthur’s a little bit older, we’ll be able to revisit for a longer trip.

V is for Vietnam.

 

Joining in with The Alphabet Photography Project over at PODCast Dove.

 

P is for pho

image

Often people ask me what I miss most about not living in London any more, and the answer’s always the same. There’s the people we left behind of course, but actually in some ways the physical distance between us now means that we make more effort to see the people who really matter. It’s amazing how knowing someone’s only half an hour away can turn into an excuse not to see them yet the opposite becomes true when meeting up’s a real mission.

But I digress. The thing I really miss about not living in London any more is the food. It’s not like there’s not good food in Devon: the potential for really fresh, really local ingredients is of course much higher than in the city. But without the melting pot of cultures that I used to feel privileged to be a part of, our menu is much more limited.

Where we used to live in London we were surrounded by fantastic Vietnamese restaurants. There was a big Turkish community too, so the kebabs were out of this world. Not to mention the Punjabi lamb chops at Tayyabs, the Sunday dim sum at Yi Ban, the Argentinian steak at Buen Ayre and the special-occassion sushi at Soseki.

It’s Vietnamese food I always seek out first when we go back though. There’s something about the fresh herbs, the slippery noodles, the seafood. And I especially love pho. It’s like the best sort of comfort food, warming and flavourful and healthy. I miss the ritual of the little plate of basilย and bean sprouts and chilli, alternating spoons of broth with digging around with chopsticks for more substantial morsels of deliciousness.

When we were on honeymoon in Vietnam I had it for breakfast every day. We’ve tried to recreate it ourselves to varying degrees of success, but without the authentic ingredients it’s never quite the same. The bowl above was devoured moments after the photo was taken in Tre Viet, a restaurant I’d heartily recommend if ever you find yourself hungry on Mare Street.

P is for pho.

 

Joining in with The Alphabet Photography Project over at PODcast.ย