Posts Tagged With: soup

Hanoi food, drinks and dessert for $1.50 total!

The other day I was wandering the streets in Hanoi looking for a bite to eat. Passing each restaurant that was full of tourists (although I’m sure there was a reason they were packed) I was simply looking for some local eats with rich flavor and no English menu. There was a huge mob of locals sitting just inches off the ground on baby stools devouring whatever this woman was putting into the bowls. Sold! I waited for a stool to open up and within moments, a local stood and signaled for me to take their seat. I smiled gratefully, sat down and just held up one finger with a head nod. Seconds later I found myself drooling (or what felt like it) into the dish and loving every bite! It was gone before the camera even made a conscious thought in my head. Sorry folks.

With that said, lets take a walk through the streets and try some other food and drink that’s common around here!

If you’d like to start your day off with a coffee, you have the usual (boring) options or three different specialities of Hanoi. First up, the ever so popular Weasel Coffee.

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Step 1: The weasel eats the coffee berry beans.
Step 2: Naturally eliminates them (yes…poop)
Step 3: The beans are collected, washed, sun dried and roasted.
Step 4: Brewed and served to you!

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Turns out, there was debate in regards to animal cruelty with the weasel being caged and force-fed. Since then, they’ve created an enzyme treatment that mimics the “original process” and produces a coffee as distinctive as the genuine, but without the use of the rodent. It’s been said to taste strong but not bitter, for me it was (fill in the blank with an “average” word – ok, good, decent, drinkable, etc.) but definitely not spectacular for the fancy price.

*Please note that I’m not a coffee connoisseur and opinions should be made by oneself.

Next up, a recipe that includes coffee, condensed milk and raw eggs. This little concoction we call, you guessed it… egg coffee! Described as full bodied, smooth and sweet I was excited to try it especially due to the specific cafe that used to be a hidden treasure. From the street you must go through an art gallery, down an alley, up several stairs, continue with a spiral set of stairs, all just to have a seat to enjoy your coffee. I will say, the view of the lake was nice and also made for a new handstand pic!

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Back to the coffee. Luckily I was with my new kiwi friends because I was faced with an unexpected dilemma. As I opened the menu to point to the egg coffee, my eyes caught the word “yogurt” followed by “cocoa” and “coffee. What? A cold iced coffee with chocolate and plain yogurt… Yeh, I know.
They each ordered an egg coffee (one cold and one hot) and I got the yog-o-coffee (I made that term up, please don’t go and ask for it, they’ll have no clue what you’re talking about).

Group opinion says:
The cold egg coffee just tasted like thick creamy iced coffee.
The hot egg coffee is better than the iced one. In his words, “like a hot coffee that had a scoop of vanilla ice cream melted into it”.
The yog-o-coffee tastes exactly like you would imagine. Cold sweetened coffee poured over plain yogurt with powdered cocoa mixed in. I think my expectations were set too high to say this was amazing, however I’d probably get it again if I ever went back, just to double check my opinion.

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Moving on to edible drinks. This is a warm soy tofu type of substance with palm syrup poured over the top. The flavor isn’t bad, but definitely not good enough to consume all of that sugar!

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This tempting doozie was calling my name when I assumed it was fresh fruit and yogurt. Nope, fresh fruit with coconut milk and condensed sweetened milk topped off with ice. Sugary fruit thats soaked in sugar, topped off with a fat filled creamed sugar syrup. Sounds like Buddy the elf would love it (thank you Will Farrell).

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I thought this was going to be a savory rice(ish) soup. Wrong again! It’s another sugar filled, warm gooey surprise! Considering I had no idea what it was or which “color” to pick, I just shrugged my shoulders and pointed at her then the mixture to suggest that I’d like to try her favorite.

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I knew she understood me when the smile hit her face as she said “you go sit”. So there I sat waiting (on the tiny chair next to the tiny stool that this entire country uses for social dining). I dig it.

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For lunch options, I kept my eyes down for anything that may look appetizing along the road side.

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After struggling all day trying to find a dish that didn’t have tofu, pork, chicken or fried fish, I finally broke down and stepped inside of a restaurant. The hostel I’m staying at suggested Minh Thuy’s Family Restaurant and they were spot on! The momma cook is one of the female master chefs of Vietnam and has every right to boast of her ability. With her daughter eagerly serving tables while she prepares in the kitchen, this place felt like you were eating at a friends house. I ordered the fresh spring rolls planning to have half for lunch and the rest for dinner. Yeah right, I devoured the entire plate!

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In addition to all of the above, you can find corners selling “fresh beer”, (which just means on tap) for $5000 dong. That’s about 0.25 cents in the US. So for a meal, a few beers and dessert if you choose, you can easily eat on the streets of Hanoi for $1.50.

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Markets, street food and exploring (eating) the unknown!

Shoes on, empty tummy and friends to join! Open your eyes and let us welcome you to the streets of Cusco!

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One hard boiled egg next to a baked potato topped with a green chile sauce… Yes please!

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Our curiosity finally got to us after passing by this bucket mounted with what looked like a pile of compost. Turns out, they pour water over the goodies and let is seep through to create a tea. We each tried a sip from the warm recycled water bottle that it came in… none of us fought for the last drink.

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This was simply a barrel of baked potatoes. You could a decent bag, warm and ready for less than $0.15.

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Sopa, sopa, sopa!

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Back into the markets…

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Fresh juice smoothie anyone?

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Sharing is caring as we continued to get one of everything that looked intriguing. Grab a bite and pass it around!

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This little surprise treat was warm white rice mixed with sweet milk, layered with a mild fruit jelly like substance, all topped off with a saltine cracker.

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On the way back we skimmed some of the non edible items that offered up hammocks, sweaters, jewelry, wallets, dishes, tattoos, and more.

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Ann and I decided that instead of getting matching tattoos (enter sarcastic laugh here), that we would go with Peruvian friendship bracelets.

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Sometimes it’s necessary to stop and remind yourself of where you are. We were all just chatting away before we glanced over at this beauty. Handstand time!

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For more photos and info showing a different side of this gorgeous city, click here to be directly linked to last years posts!

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I-Love-Budapest

Due to our small delay on the border, we arrive a bit late but that is nothing to stop sweet Niki greeting us with a huge smile and warm hug.

Here’s the dollhouse view from Niki’s adorable place. I personally love the men at work making there sandwiches on the job site.

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Our day in the city of Budapest was complimented with amazing weather, perfect for a bike ride!
Tempting… But we went solo this ride.

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Here are a few photos on the way to the local market.

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Market time! We locked up the bikes and went for a walk.

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This is not my favorite part of the market, but I’ll add a few pics to give you an idea. Imagine the smell of this isle… I’ll stick to the fresh fruit!

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Next is a quick walk to stop for lunch.

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No need to debate if we were up for the challenge to visit the Citadel, a 19th century fortress that sits on top of Gellert Hill. This trek is generally done by foot at a nice pace or in a bus creeping up the windy slopes. A bus? No way! We’ere hauling our bikes to the top of this thing if it takes all day! We don’t even let a slipped chain slow us down…Marshall to the rescue!

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Marshall caught me cracking up at the fact that my camera wasn’t even on for the first few pictures (not seen here) that he took on the bridge.

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This is where there are supposed to be a bunch of photos of us riding through beautiful greenery, and dirt paths, pushing up stairs and carrying our bikes up rock filled hills. Well, I was too busy doing all of those things so let’s just jump to the pictures at the top!

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Of course this was the prime choice for the handstand shot!
“Buda” on the left and “Pest” on the right.

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As if the artillery side wasn’t interesting enough, this young girl hidden away stopped me in my tracks. Not necessarily her amazing art piece, but just the entire energy that surrounded her and the painting in front of her.

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What’s this? Don’t mind if I do! I must give huge credit to my amazing photographer Marshall, I had no idea he captured so many cool shots. Thanks pal!

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After dominating the climb and enjoying the view we headed down to cross the famous chain bridge. Some photos along the way…

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Brake… Hey look, it’s a Vegas sign! (For those of you just joining us, that’s where Marshall and I met).

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Made it to the base of the bridge to find more stairs. We love stairs!

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I forgot that I had left my camera on a this stormy effect. Glad I did, nice pics Marshall!

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I would have been totally satisfied just seeing this beautiful city during the day, but energetic Niki was determined to get us out during sun down. The first evening we got to meet one of her good friends Balasz, one of the nicest, most knowledgeable tour guides I’ve come across so far.

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Then we got to reunite with our buddy Jay! He was from the “Salzburg” post as one of the Irish Pub guests that helped us keep it going!

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Here are the only night shots I snagged from two fantastic evening out. Entertainment full of unique clubs, Irish Pubs and outdoor lounges.

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Check out the ladies room I found at one of the clubs… I feel sorry for the girls who had high heels.

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Hungry on the walk home? Forget the slice-o-pizza, it’s a hummus bar!

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Fun is up in Budapest as it’s time to make our way to Czech Republic. With the signs ahead, we have our stickers ready just in case Mr. Patrol man is doing his job (please see previous post).

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Next stop, Prague!

Categories: Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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