People travel for a whole host of reasons but one of the most common and most miserable reasons is to have the bragging rights that come with having visited the unusual or far flung.
I have to admit that sometimes I do the heinous “that’s good but it isn’t as good as the sashimi I had in Fukushima several years ago which really sadly you won’t ever be able to try” or that “that pho is nowhere nearly as good as the pho I had in a little village outside HCMC at the hands of a 90 year old blind peasant woman“.
Well fortunately I won’t be doing this after my trip to Hanoi as I got everything wrong. Hanoi is fairly well accepted to be in Vietnam. Vietnam is almost legendary as a place you can’t eat badly. Every dish, every meal, every taste is fresh and effective.
It is therefore impressive that in our evening in Hanoi I managed to stumble between four restaurants and not clutch a meal nearly as good as any of the crappy takeaways in London. As we jumped from street stall, to hole in the wall to local restaurant my intuition magnificently misfired each time.
Then it came time for drinks, and I tried to lead us to get some Bia Hơi or Vietnamese fresh beer. However, the venue I had chosen had shut down or moved. And so had the second venue.
So I gave up, went expat, and off we headed to the Sofitel Metropole Grand – the big daddy of Vietnamese hotels and one of the most renouned hotels in the world to drown our sorrows in cocktails. Except the cocktails were missing two vital things – taste and alcohol – 3 martinis in I felt like I was drinking in some mocktail land of nightmares.
So Hanoi, I’m sure it’s great and everything but it didn’t work for me. But at least that stops me bragging.
- Price – empty calories