I haven’t stepped on a scale in awhile. Not sure I should. The food in Vietnam is beyond amazing and I haven’t held back. But the great thing is that every meal includes a large variety of amazing veg – in soups and sandwiches, wraps and rolls. Everything includes the freshest greens and that makes me happy.
And last night made me happy too. Because we explored Hoi An and it’s amazing food tradition on a bike. Two of my favorite things – eating and cycling – together. And in the process we discovered a
kindred spirit in Grasshopper Adventures – a fantastic cycle touring organization with outlets around SE Asia.
Faithful blog followers know my cycling obsession. I miss my road bike that is in storage back home. So anytime I can ride I am happy. Grasshopper Adventures provided us really nice, new and safe 27 speed mountain bikes with disc brakes. I felt very confident on this bike, even in the Hoi An traffic.
My son and husband and I had a private tour, which made the experience even more fun. Our great
guides Ben and Flora were knowledgeable, funny and interesting.
We began the evening at 4pm about two hours before sunset. Our first stop was one of Hoi An’s
most famous Bahn Mi shops, Bahn Mi Phi. We have eaten a lot of Bahn Mi and this one was by far the best. Along with the usual pork, Pate, and veg, it also included cheese and egg. So delicious!!!
We continued on our ride through the beautiful green rice fields and then stopped to admire the organic city gardens that provide most of the herbs and greens for the town. We turned into
a lovely little home of one of the farmers where we enjoyed a homemade bowl of the
local specialty Cau Lao noodles, while also enjoying her darling granddaughter.
As the sun made its way low in the sky we enjoyed the colors that bathed over the rice fields as we rode to our next destination, Hai Dao (160 Le Thai To Street), a very authentic no frills restaurant set in a open air area off a busy street.
Here we stuffed ourselves with perfectly prepared crispy pancakes, rolled in rice paper with greens as well as beef and pork. I was already full and we were only half done with our tour.
It was dusk now and we wound our way through tiny back alleys and streets down to the river just as night fell. Here we visited a
hidden ice cream shop, U Cafe, owned and operated by a Japanese woman. The ice cream (cashew and green tea) was delicious. We learned that the owner works to bring used bicycles from Japan and provides them to those in need in Central Vietnam. Over the last several years she has brought 12,000 bikes to Vietnam!
Our next stop was a quaint stop in the old town called Hill Station. A bit of a diversion from Vietnamese food, we were treated to a plate of beautiful cheeses and a Saigon-brewed IPA. This look at the fusion of cultures and food in Hoi An was a very satisfying way to see how cosmopolitan this beautiful city is.
Back on the bikes we turned on our headlights and tail lights and rode down to the river and over the bridge to Cam Nam Island. Here we sat in little plastic chairs beside the river looking back at the lights of the old town at Hao Hao BBQ. This restaurant is a local favorite and it easy to see why. We started with a delicious salad, then pork
belly rolled in leaves. Next we had BBQ, followed by frog (introduced to us as “jumping chicken”) and finally BBQ pig tongue.
As usual, we are always willing to try most things at least once and it was all delicious.
The ride through the city back to the Grasshopper
office was fun as we wove in and out of streets and alleys. But wait! We weren’t done eating! On arrival we were served banana cake with a luscious coconut cream, a special mung bean treat steamed in banana leaves and tea. We toasted our guides, “Mot, Hai, Ba, YO!!!!” and thanked them for a lovely evening.
One of the most fun things we have done in Vietnam and I highly recommend it in Hoi An. Or look for Grasshopper’s other tours around Southeast Asia.