or do other countries always have much more interesting tasting and looking food? I have REALLY enjoyed the food here- and have only put something into my napkin two or three times that I wasn't able to swallow. Not bad for having completed one week in Vietnam :) Here is a picture of the typical bowl of Pho noodles from a place called Pho 24 which is basically the McDonalds of Vietnam ("Pho" is pronounced like the first part of the word 'fun' NOT 'phone'):
Mmmmm... DELICIOUS! I ate the whole bowl... and am really excited about my improving chopstick skills (to be honest, I started off quite terribly and still have a ways to go- but I'm getting better). I also tasted my first "Bun Cha" on Saturday and loved it. It's basically a different type of white noodle that you mix into a soup flavored with grilled pork or other meat. I think I'll go back to that restaurant in the alley. As long as my back is facing the kitchen area . . . no worries- I haven't had any stomach issues yet :)
Here are my top ten random eating observations:
10-every place you go, from the upscale Pizza Hut to the hole in the alley, they have toothpicks on the table for you
9-drinks are all served at room temp. and ice must be requested
8-many places will serve 5-7 different dishes-the more expensive, meaty dishes are served first and then the lower cost dishes are served last as a filler (such as soup)
7-you don't give a tip here... when we tried to tip one lady, she was really confused and ran after us with the money
6-I have seen more Pepsi here than Coke- weird.
5-often the servers will stand behind you watching unobtrusively while you are eating- waiting to take away a finished dish or serve you in some way
4-dessert menus are non existent at some places, and if they do exist- they usually only consist of two to three options- usually at least one being fruit
3-splitting the bill is not normal- so we have one person pay and then we divvy up costs later
2-there never seems to be a long wait for your meal
1-you can get a decent meal for $1-3!
I am learning to appreciate new varieties of ice cream (such as the refreshing ice cream and sticky rice combo), and have even enjoyed some home made salsa! I definitely wasn't expecting either of those, so I feel quite spoiled. Hopefully I'll learn how to make some typical Vietnamese dishes during the year :)