Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Travel Post - Hoi An, Vietnam - Part Two

One of the most important thing to enjoying one self in Hoi An is to actually throw caution to the wind when it comes to eating.  TT and I ate at sidewalks often, trying the local food and snacks during the 5 day/4 night stay there. Staying at a hotel at a convenient location also makes a lot of difference too.  I booked the accommodation via Expedia.  It's been my go-to site for travel arrangements lately as I find it fast, easy and the prices competitive. Plus with one of my previous experience of a cancelled refundable booking (due to my own change in plans), I was pleasantly surprised when my refund was credited back after two days to my credit card account. That kinda sealed my trust in Expedia.

While being the last hotel located along the river (err.. not exactly a river), I still picked Royal Riverside Hotel in terms of best value, pricing, amenities and location.    It's really a nice hotel with great service and hospitality to boot.  I highly recommend this hotel to anyone who is keen on visiting Hoi An. The staff are courteous and very helpful. Upon checking in, Nguyen, was ever ready to receive us with a welcome drink and promptly sat us down (while we wait to check in as we had arrived two hours ahead).  She then handed us a map and showed us the location of places of interest and how to get around to the different places.  Plus I really enjoyed the daily free breakfast given and there's free wi-fi too.  There's even a free shuttle van to take us to the beach area (An Bang Beach..more on that later).  We were only 10 minutes on foot away from Old Town.  Arriving on the first day, we decided to take it easy and just explore Old Town before we decided whether we should sign up for some local tours.

The Occupied Staff
The "Occupied" Staff who kept her eyes and ears glued to her phone!  The ladies at the back were busy with the mackerels.

Of course, we needed lunch first! By the time we were ready to go out after cleaning up, it was about 2pm (which is 3pm Malaysian time!).  We walked towards Old Town but we got distracted by some people and their activities on the opposite street nearby and decided to head over there to take a look. We soon stumbled across a shop, which horrors of horrors to me, had the FISH written on the side of the signboard. Hahaha...well, I am not a fan of fish but TT is and we were hungry. Fortunately, I saw a dish that mentioned shrimp ball! Yay! I could eat that! Hahaha.....So, we sat down and ordered in a sort of Vietnam-fied English (TT is good at that... Kekeke!) and hand gestures to the pots and pans and I prayed for the best!

TT's sweet dream, my nightmare! A wokful of mackerels which is the main ingredient for her Câ Thu order of noodles.

More Fishy Stuff?
Another big pot of cabbage and unidentifiable ingredients.

My order arrived, I took some pics and quickly  checked whether there were any fish meat in my order of Cha Tôm.  Thankfully, none.  I was presently surprised...the noodles had generous portions of shrimp balls and a large piece of pumpkin along with cabbage and bamboo shoots.  The soup was tangy, slightly sweet and sour.  Yay! It was delicious! Either that or I was just ravenous by then.  Well, TT enjoyed her noodles too.  I forgot to take a pic of her noodles as I was too hungry :o).

Cha Tom (Shrimp Ball)
Cha Tôm (20,000 VND/RM4/USD1) ... a delightful bowl of noodles, best eaten with the home made chili or one can try adding the additional hot green's hotter than the red ones (unlike the vice versa back home in Malaysia!).

Having filled our tummy ... somewhat, we continued exploring the area and soon we came across a stall along the five foot way.  We really had no idea what the lady was frying but we were really curious about it and decided to order.  


The lady was frying up some Banh Cân (Mini Pancakes) as I found out later after doing a search of the word written on a board nearby.

The fried batter was yummy; eaten with lettuce and a dash of spicy vinegar.,  The mini pancakes were shells and then had quail eggs added to it.  We pointed and asked for several empty "shells" to eat thinking they were of different ingredients! Hahaha...for three empty shells and three mini pancakes with quail eggs, we paid 40,000 VND/RM8/USD2 which we found to be expensive for a street food and some empty flour "shells"!  

NOTE : We found out that some street vendors here do charge higher when it comes to tourists.  A lot of the street stalls do not display the price of their food.  So we learnt to either kinda hang around and see how much the locals pay for their order or we ask first. For this stall, we made the mistake of ordering, eating and then only we asked! So remember, ask or observe how much the local pay for it first!

To Be Continued ...

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