I'm going to Vietnam later this month, spending a few days each in Saigon, Hoi An, Hue, and Hanoi. I eat Vietnamese food regularly at excellent restaurants at home in San Francisco but would love advice from people who've spent time in Vietnam.
1. What are Vietnamese specialties that rarely show up in American restaurants? And for the four places I'm going, what kind of food does each region excel in?
2. Are there good comprehensive guidebooks to restaurants in Vietnam?
3. What, if anything, is unsafe to eat in Vietnam? Should I avoid iced coffee if I can't be sure the ice is made with filtered water? (I might have to cancel my trip if I can't max out on iced Vietnamese coffee.) Should I avoid bun and all other dishes that have raw vegetables because I can't be sure whether they were washed in filtered water?
4. And, of course, what are your favorite restaurants in Saigon, Hue, Hoi An, and Hanoi?
Plus any other advice for eating in Vietnam. Thank you!