Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hanoi - The Restaurant

The only way to really see Hanoi is to throw yourself in amongst the chaos and be a part of it.

It's a busy city, vibrant but not quite crazy. There's stuff to see... Ho Chi Minh's embalmed body, loads of ornate and beautiful Buddhist temples, lakes, palaces and opera houses.

But the city shows its best side when the offices close, the shops pull down their shutters and workmen hang up their tools for the day. As the light drops the food stalls come out and you learn that this is a city that lives on street food. Women hurriedly fill every square inch of pavement with pint-sized stools and tiny tables, and begin filling giant bowls with noodle soup and serving it to every passer-by for what feels like only a few pennies - the city turns into an enormous outdoor restaurant!

And then out come the street bars serving Beer Hoi - glasses of beer served to scores of people sat on their small stools on the streets, cheap beer and weak, but never as weak as you think!

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