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LiL’s Adventures in Sapa and Hanoi – Part 2 – Food and Random pics

December 24 2010 at 12:56 AM

LiL  (Login LiL888)

Our visit to Hanoi coincided with the 1000th Anniversary of the founding of this colourful city. We were wondering why there were so many red flags displayed everywhere and now we know.

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Hoan Kiem Lake is regarded as the heart of Hanoi. Lakeside is also a good place to find a bench and rest your toes after trundling around town, and you can find some good little cafes serving local coffee.

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The lake is also the jumping-off point for exploring the Old Quarter, Hanoi's labyrinth of traditional craft streets in a sprawling maze on the north end of the lake.


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European tourists curious to see what is being sold by the locals

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Selling meat in a dress shop ?

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Metal smith

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Motorcycles are the main mode of transport

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Which is why it is necessary for the city council to provide ample motorcycle Parking

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The locals are skilled at balancing on wheels

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Ladies can balance well too, on their own two feet

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The best hawker restaurants are walking distance from this lake such as the famous Beef noodles on Au Trieu street i can eat 2 bowls of this

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ChaCa Thanh Long. It is actually small fillets of flaky white fish marinated in turmeric and galangal, fried and served with generous topping of dill on a sizzling hot plate.

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Bun Cha ( Charcoal Grilled Pork Patties with Vermicelli Noodles and Herbs ) at 67 Duong Thanh Street . The pork patties are the bestest.

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And of course we made a bee line for Bobby Chinns restaurant. He is a New Zealand born Chinese-Egyptian chef and restaurateur and the host of World Cafe Café. The last time I was in Hanoi, his restaurant was situated on the edge of the old Quarter but has since moved.

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What grabbed my attention first was the humorous menu. If youve ever watched his tv shows, you will say to yourself This is BobbyChinn

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The food was as expected, delicious.

Clockwise from top left

1) Daily homemade sorbet
2) Bun Bo Fillet mignon with fresh herbs and rice noodles
3) Fillet mignon with mashed potatoes, mushroom red wine ragout
4) Sa Lat Vit Confit Duck Confit Salad
5) Miso Glazed Cod with Sesame Soy tossed green bean
6) Ca Hoi Kho To Salmon Claypot in Caramel Sauce, Braised Cabbage and Local Rice
7) Chocolate dim sum


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Clockwise from top left
1) Gazpacho soup
2) Local beer
3) Amuse Bouche
4) Gazpacho soup
5) Vegetarian pizza
6) Garden Green salad
7) Canh Chua Ca Sweet and Sour fish soup


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This is my third time eating here.

The staff leave rose petals in the WC so romantic

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To get to Sapa, ,most people take the overnight train ride from Hanoi, approximately 9 hours if there arent mud slides clogging the tracks. We booked ourselves into the soft sleeper cabin on the Hara Express. We slept in 4 berth cabin and made do with the not-spanking-clean communal toilet.

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We arrived in Lao Cai town early in the morning and was abruptly awoken by the knocking and the train staff yelling Lao Cai!Lao Cai.


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LaoCai is a province in the northeastern mountainous region of Vietnam, bordering the province of Yunnan in China
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If you have your passport and a China Visa, you can visit the town of Hekou which is just 2 minutes walk across the bridge.

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For those who cannot rough it out on the Hara Express and similar trains, you can pay more $$$ to enjoy the comforts of the Victoria Express Train, which is exclusively reserved for the in house guests of Victoria Sapa Resort. I read somewhere that it is the only 4 star hotel in town

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You get a birds eye view of Sapa town from Victoria Hotel

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Chapa Garden Hotel is the best alternative if you prefer boutique hotels. They have only 4 guest rooms and is almost always fully booked so do make your reservations in advanced if you want to stay here.

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We had dinner at Chapa Garden Hotel not once but twice. The food there is mad yummy.

Clockwise from top left :
1) Ember roasted bell pepper in olive
2) Coq au Vin a la Sapa this dish is better than what I have tasted in other French fine dining restaurants
3) Bell pepper roasted in an open fire
4) Pancake with blackberry jam
5) Bruscehtta
6) Homemade tomato soup
7) Special bacon and cheese burger


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Bruschetta prepared over an open fire

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We also sampled their Vietnamese set menu

Clockwise from top left
1) Pork with carrot and onion
2) Local Hmong specialty
3) Tofu and tomato
4) Scandinavian style meat balls with herbs
5) Fried beef with lemongrass and green pepper


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They chef will cook for you whatever is produced locally. I wonder if he used exotic herbs and spices such as these.

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If you want to eat where Vietnamese tourists dine, your best bet would be one of the restaurants along Pham Xuan Huan street . Honestly, I did not enjoy my meals here or any other local Hilltribe cuisine place I visited. I guess I am a big city girl and used to big city food.

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The main square of Sapa town

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We treated ourselves to a massage but all of us felt the masseurs were unprofessional and poorly trained.

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As mentioned in Part 1, we visited the lively Sunday BacHa market

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Scenes from Bac Ha market

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I am afraid to ask what they are going to do with all these piglets

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Farm animals for sale

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Cow taking a leak i suppose it has not been toilet trained

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Albino cow reminded me of Needles, my darling hedgehog

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Afternoon rest

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Best of friends sharing a secret

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Exchanging village gossip

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So many things to choose from so hard to decide

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We are enjoying our lunch please refrain from taking photos of us

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Yummy

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Barber

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Watch repair no Ling, i did not enquire how long is the turnaround time

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Flower Hmong Baby clothing for sale what a nice souvenir. Now I regret I did not buy any


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Is this a real Hmong girl ? Why do I get the gut feeling she is just a Hmong wannabe ?

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Well, i too bought myself a Hmong outfit and if opportunity arises, i will wear it to one of the Purists parties sometime in the near future. Thanks for reading.




( Please note that some of the text has been lifted off other articles on the Internet but the photos are all original. The opinions expressed here are based on my personal experience )

 
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AuthorReply

DRMW
(Login DRMW)
AP Discussion Group

re: Sapa and Hanoi

December 26 2010, 8:10 AM 

Great pics LiL! That Bobby Chinn restaurant sign is hilarious. I noticed that motorbike pic with the rider with the plastic cover for rain protection and the passenger wearing plastic bags over their shoes. Did it rain much when you where there?

-MW

 
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LiL
(Login LiL888)

Re: re: Sapa and Hanoi

December 26 2010, 8:39 AM 

Hii DrMW.. I always look forward to reading Bobby Chinn's menu whenever I dine at his restaurant. If he is in town he will walk around the restaurant and talk to his customers. He is such a warm friendly character and very chatty. I once attended a cooking lesson he conducted in KL and he told so many stories that he was not able to finish cooking all the dishes on the programme happy.gif

Fortunately for us it did not rain much when we were in Sapa. Only 2 short stints if memory serves me right. The weather was wonderful and so were our trekking outings. One plus point is this is a cheap destination to visit. Ex Hanoi, u can do a "semi luxury" 3 day 4 night holiday for under USD$120 per pax ( inclusive sleeper train tickets, decent hotel, Hmong guide and fine dining food).

 
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Horr Wai
(Login hw88)

Thanks for sharing

December 27 2010, 9:14 PM 

Li Ling,

Very nice pictures as usual and thanks for posting and sharing your wonderful trip.

HW


 
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LiL
(Login LiL888)

Re: Thanks for sharing

December 27 2010, 10:46 PM 

Hii HW.. If u ever visit Sapa be sure to give me a call and I will recommend to u best places to eat and visit. Happy New Year !

 
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Helen
(Login elanoftroy)
AP Discussion Group

As always great

December 28 2010, 9:00 PM 

Lil,

I love the photo of the yellow and red roses, it was a nice touch but the one of selling meat in the dress shop that was very interesting, you could not get away with that here in the USofA.

 

The Bobby Chinn sign is cool.  You amaze me with all of your stories.  And the food I would think you were a stout woman with all the foods you eat, if I had not seen a photo of you before, lol. 

 

I think my favorite is the Et-Pumpkin Express, Ive been on a train several times but never a sleeping car, I would like to do that.  Was it fun?  I always think of the movie Some Like It Hot with Marylyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.  It sounds exciting. 

 

Thats funny about the massage; he didnt look like a professional.

 

Tell me, would you have one of those little piggies as a pet? 

 

So now if you go to Las Vegas will you wear your Hmong outfit? 

 

Excellent report,

 

Helen

 


 
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LiL
(Login LiL888)

Re: As always great

December 28 2010, 11:32 PM 

Hellooo Helen,

Well, i do love my food. In fact i will plan for dinner whilst i am eating lunch but i guess this is a very Asian thing.

The sleeper train was not fun. I got motion sickness and threw up the next morning. But maybe that was also because i drowned several shots of whisky to help me doze off.

Piggies as a pet - i wouldn't mind a teacup miniature pig.

Hmong outfit in Vegas - everyone is there to have fun so what not ? Hahaha

 
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