Summer in Hanoi

 

So many firsts in Hanoi. First Snake feast. First time pillion riding on a taxi motorbike. First pedicure at a nail bar.

9th Aug, Singapore’s National Day. The day I skipped town to be in Hanoi with a great bunch of ex-colleagues.

Weather was  warm and humid even though Hanoi’s summer peak had passed in Jul. The best season to be in Hanoi would be either Autumn (Sep-Nov) or Spring (Mar-Apr). Luckily, the plan was to leave for the cool Sapa mountains after a night in the city.

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One of the key sights within the city is Hanoi Old Quarters, a must-see for either shopping or its architectural buildings. Old Quarters has a very long history and is the heart of the city. It is apparently made up of 36 streets,  with narrow shops and walk-ways. Shops specializing in the same trade or wares are put together which makes shopping easy. Bargaining is the norm but do not expect prices to drop drastically. Many oil painting art shops lined the streets and the pieces are cheap.

Near Old Quarters, there is a famous lake in the city center called the Hoan Kiem Lake, a scenic spot for coffee and ice cream at tourist prices.  Read about the lake history here: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho%C3%A0n_Ki%E1%BA%BFm_Lake)

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Food in Hanoi is generally cheap and delicious if you know where to go, and willing to put up with the cramped seats and setup. Must-trys are their Pho (noodle soup), rice rolls and Bahn Mi (baguette sandwich) is absolutely delicious.

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Snake meat is a delicacy in Vietnam and I recoiled at the idea of eating it if not for C and her family. It’s a snake feast so there’s nothing but snake for dinner. Snake bile and rice wine is mixed and I  gulped it down. Not too bad but it’s not something I’ll do again. Snake meat is a little tough in texture but it’s quite nice, really. Egg Coffee, a well-known Vietnamese beverage is something to try. It’s Vietnam coffee with sweetened condensed milk and egg yolk but I am not a fan because of the heavy texture.

 

A sumptuous dinner party in my colleagues home.

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Her cat 🙂

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