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Bun Rieu Nam Bo ~ Vietnamese Soup

April 21, 2011

We’re here!  We’re here!  We’re here!  After a long and  grueling 20+ hour plane ride with a very brief stop over in Hong Kong we’ve made it to Viet Nam ~ our destination for the next 33 days.

The sights and sounds are like nothing we’ve ever experienced.  People and motorbikes coming and going in what appear to be highway lanes without speed limits or road rules.  We are assuming one of the most important things to investigate when buying a vehicle here is the horn and how many pulsating sounds it can make.  Luckily for us our driver’s car horn made at least three different and distinct sounds and he had one hand on it the entire 45 minute ride from the airport to the hotel.

The heat is stifling especially for a couple of Canadians who left snow behind but as the day turned to night a cool breeze set in to make it feel bearable (or was the breeze created by the never-ending stream of motorbikes?)

Matt and I walked around for a few hours taking in the never-ending shops, the narrow sidewalks (if you can call them that), the women peddling donuts and fruit, the constant stream of vehicles and the fact there are no cross walks…you just walk out into traffic slowly (better with eyes closed) at a steady pace and fingers crossed the cars and bikes slow or swerve to miss you!  It is very different from any place we’ve ever been and culturally a lot to take in.

Now, onto the bun rieu nam bo (soup) we stopped to enjoy at a street shop on the corner of Hang Bang and Phu Doan.  It was delicious!  We didn’t know what to order and just let them bring us what they were serving.  It was a busy place with the locals so we assumed the food was good. 

It was only after we sat there for a while enjoying the soup and a few cold beers that one of the young girls (fascinated with all of my coloured pens) came over to give us a lesson in writing and speaking some common Vietnamese phrases.  She told us the name of the soup along with “bia danh” which means cold beer and other phrases like xin chào – hello, taim biêt -bye bye, càm òn – thank-you and a number of other words.  She went over and over the words asking us to repeat them and giggling with her friends as we stumbled through the very different sounds.  The trade for this lesson was one of my new pens.  We paid and headed back to our hotel.  Phew, we made it through our first day and should be on Vietnamese time (11 hours ahead) tomorrow.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. mrs. turns permalink
    April 21, 2011 10:05 pm

    glad to hear you guys made it! looking forward to hearing all of your tales…

  2. PepperReed permalink
    April 21, 2011 10:40 pm

    Glad you’ve arrived safely. I LOVE vietnamese food and am looking forward to your updates. Have a great time!

  3. April 21, 2011 10:56 pm

    Good for you guys!! Enjoy every moment and share when you can…can’t wait to hear about all your experiences! I have to travel any way I can!!! Thanks!

  4. Angela permalink
    April 22, 2011 9:51 am

    So happy you are there safely and taking it all in. The girls and I tracked your plane to make sure;) Looking forward to sharing in your journey!

  5. sylvia permalink
    April 22, 2011 1:05 pm

    I’m Dying to know what was in the soup? It does look delicious.

    • April 22, 2011 4:15 pm

      Mostly noodles and a very flavouful broth. Plus, an assortment of different meat balls (1 each of the following)…we are guessing by the taste that there was some sort of spicy saugage ball, some kind of flavor explosion ball which I’m guessing consisted of an assortment of seafood and the long piece we think was tofu. And, the floating pieces were fried dough. We were also given a bowl of fresh greens (mint) to put in the soup…t made it even more delcious.
      Not many people speak English so you can’t ask any questions…it’s all just speculation on our part.

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