Vietnam’s signature dish, Pho - pronounced ‘fur’ – can be eaten anywhere across Vietnam, but Ho Chi Minh City has some of the best in the country. The noodle-based dish consists of a combination of herbs and onions in a clear broth topped with lime, chilli, and garlic. It also includes meat – and while any meat can be added to the dish, beef is the most popular choice. There are plenty of restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City where you can try the dish, but sample it at food markets if you want a really authentic Vietnamese experience. Head to Ben Thanh Market, a central hotspot in the city, and watch it being made from scratch.
Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the northeast of Vietnam that specialises in fish caught fresh from the bay – so it definitely deserves a spot on your Vietnam to-do list. Board one of the many cruise ships that sail on the turquoise waters and choose from shrimp, sea bass, oyster, king prawns, mussels, and local dish Cha Muc – squid that has been deep fried and coated in spices. It’s a Ha Long Bay speciality so no trip is complete without a taste.
It’s easy to see Vietnam’s colonial history lingering alongside its traditional Southeast Asian culture. Capital city Hanoi is perhaps the starkest reminder of that past, on display through the well-preserved French-colonial buildings in the Old Quarter, and the local food specialities. And, coffee is one of the surviving delicacies. In 1946 a Vietnamese bartender invented what is known locally as Cà Phê Trúng – but to us that’s egg coffee. The creamy drink combines whisked egg yolk, milk, and vanilla essence with hot coffee, and makes for a sweet treat as well as a caffeine hit. Cinnamon and nutmeg are often added too, giving the coffee a festive flavour, and the drink is topped with chocolate sauce.
Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s beach paradise – it’s still off-the-radar when it comes to tourism, so you won’t be sharing its white sand beaches with many others. Seafood is widely eaten here but Fish Sauce is the big name on the island, and it’s exported across the world. The Phu Quoc variety is made of anchovies left to ferment in salt for six months to a year, and the more time it’s given to soak, the nuttier the taste. As well as for dipping purposes, it’s used in Thai Green Curry, Pad Thai, or even as Caesar Salad dressing.
The Novotel Phu Quoc Resort is a wonderful fusion of classic Vietnamese themes with modern elements including mood-lighting and two large pools.
The stylish Sol Beach House Phu Quoc sidles up to white sands and is a 30 minutes’ drive from Duong Dong Town.
The Vinpearl Resort & Spa Phu Quoc is perched on the edge of Bai Dai Beach, giving you excellent views of the Gulf of Thailand from almost every angle.
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