We arrived in Hoi An, after an 8-hour bus ride and an unexpected scooter taxi. We were exhausted, of course. So what would we do but go out for a loud, messy meal at Ba Le Well - a place that serves only ban xeo, a specialty of the region. They bring plates of greens, spring rolls, various grilled sate meats and rice paper and you roll up your own messy package to eat with dipping sauce. It was delicious and silly. Completely overrun with Australians on holiday, but it didn't matter.
Next night we ate at Morning Glory, which is both praised and reviled on this board and others. I understand why. It's upscale, run like a military operation and doesn't feel right after eating at all sorts of grubby street side places. But we had a really wonderful meal - everything was delicious - probably the standout dishes for us were the smoky eggplant, the mango salad, and the prawns served in coconut. But it was all good and probably cost us all of about $8 per person.
Bahn Mi Phuong was as good as everyone says. We tried two different ones - both were delicious.
We only had two dinners in Hue. One was eaten at a place we ducked into to get out of the rain, and it wasn't very good. The next night we ate at The Hanh which was recommended by our hotel nearby. They serve all kinds of local specialties, like banh khoi and something steamed in banana leaf. Also these little dishes with some sort of tapioca type mixture in them, which was tasty and fun to eat. Everything was good and it was dirt cheap.
In Hanoi we have had some great food. I insisted in eating bun cha at a street stall, which terrified everyone else, but it was delicious and no one got sick. We also ate it at the particular restaurant that's always mentioned Duc Kim (?) and it wasn't any better and cost a lot more. We had dinner one night at Quan An Ngon and it was actually pretty great, even though I was reluctant to go there. They do renditions of all sorts of street foods, served in a large outdoor garden. The different stations that cook the dishes are all around - sort of like a food court. Our server took us on a tour of every station and we decided yes or no depending on what we thought looked good. The food was delicious, fresh and the atmosphere was great. The place was full of many more Vietnamese than tourists so I guess it's a place to go for even the locals. We spent less than $10'per person and had more than enough food. Another night we ate at Cha Ca La Vong - it was fun and delicious but as others have said, the portion of fish is very small. And last night we had dinner at Little Hanoi, which is located in the night market area. Bustling craziness all around - we sat on little stools outside so we got to watch all the action on the street. Food was really really good, especially the grilled eggplant and the pork with five spice. Good spring rolls too. Dirt cheap.
On to Siem Reap today!