The day started with a delicious breakfast at the Metropole. I could not think of a better way to feel the French influence in Vietnam than to have pho and a croissant. This is what makes food interesting. You are not JUST fueling your body, you are looking at history on a plate in addition to giving yourself pleasure! One dish can tell you who has come and gone in a country, invasions, immigration etc etc.
First stop was a visit to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, built in 1070. The temple is featured on the back of the 100,000 Dong note (about $4).
Next, a drive by of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (to actually go inside involves waiting in a HUGE line).
After this, I took a ride on a cyclo – the best way to experience and see the street scene in Hanoi. It will hit all your senses and better than any 3D ride.
Today was also a long day of eating. I started with rice flake ice cream from Kem Trang Tien. It was very good. Not creamy and not too sweet.
I then sat on the terrace of the Metropole for my first egg coffee experience. This hotel is apparently where the drink was invented.
Egg coffee is basically something you can only get in Hanoi. As the story goes, milk was in short supply so they used whipped eggs instead. Although I like my coffee black, egg coffee is delicious. It has a very thick texture and almost custard taste.
For lunch – PIZZA! Yes, you can get a good Neopolitan style pizza in Hanoi. But WHY have pizza in Vietnam? Before coming to Vietnam, many people who had been told me I had to try 4Ps pizza. The allure is that the restaurant makes all of its own cheeses and ingredients are from farms the company contracts. Its basically farm to table pizza, and its good! Its always busy, they have multiple locations, so I would recommend you make a reservation in advance.
After some shopping and a short nap, it was time to eat more. The evening started with more egg coffee at Cafe Nang.
Followed by Bun Cha at Bun Cha Ta…
Some grilled pork on the street…
and finishing with Bahn Goi, which are like Vietnamese empanadas.
Another great day in this great city!