Last morning in Hanoi
At breakfast this morning, we reconnected with two of our American friends from the boat on Ha Long Bay. We talked about the wonderful people we have met on our trip so far. They are on a similar itinerary, a few days behind us. Hope we will see them later in Ho Chi Minh City. Determined not to waste the morning we decided to find the famous ‘coffee with egg’ place. We had the morning free, transfer to the airport was at 11:45am. So we set off for the far side of town. There was a direct route on a main street but it was too noisy, so we took a detour and promptly got lost in food stalls. We found eggs for sale, lots of dried fish, but we were looking for something to eat.
We had been looking for a perfect Bahn Mi. Found it, Rachelle and I shared it and were very happy. Then we wandered down another street and found a woman selling a snack off the back of her bicycle. It was a kind of polenta spread on a crispy rice disk, sprinkled with finishing sugar. Again, really good. We continued on our self-made food tour and stumbled across the food alley that we had seen days before. That day, we were part of a city tour and ate in a restaurant. This time, we wandered in and saw what looked like an amazing soup. It smelled wonderful so we asked for a small bowl. The woman showed us a tiny slip of paper that read, “Do you want to eat snail soup?” We swallowed and said yes. Turned out to be so good, a bit sour, filled with flat rice noodles, a few snails, greens and lime juice. The sourness seemed to be from a reddish broth, maybe tomatoes or plums? The woman refused to take our money, insisted it was a gift. Rachelle declared her the soup goddess, and we went on to find the coffee and egg drink.
After asking for directions a few times, we finally found the place. We were told by a local to go upstairs and sit. The waitress was not keen on that, but eventually let us go up. We found a little room with some cushions on a wood floor and a tiny balcony with one table. Sat outside, watching the street traffic and had hot coffee blended with egg, a true custard with some kind of liquor at the bottom and a blueberry panne cotta. Those unearthly blue jelly bean shaped things are filled with very sweet blueberry-flavored imitation juice. It was a meal of all kinds of custard. Totally happy with our food tour, we took a cab back to the hotel and met our ride to the airport.
At the airport, we met a Vietnam Vet traveling with his son. It was the Vet’s 70th birthday trip. They were on their way to see where he had served during the war.