This would be my second time to Vietnam. My last trip to Vietnam was to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). I started my jouney about 3pm to KL Sentral Bus Station, and boarded the Sky Bus (which I had pre-booked earlier from Air Asia) to LCCT Airport. Upon arrival to LCCT i noticed that the Terminal was pretty packed with people, perhaps a lil’ more than the usual, it could be due to the recent elections, as many people were now only returning back to their home towns or maybe just it’s just the peak season to travel, nevertheless, after the usual scurrying about to get to the departure hall I finally boarded the plane. The pilot announced that the flight was slightly delayed due to the oxygen levels in the cockpit which they had to refill or something of the sort. Finally, we the plane took off and despite the slight turbulence due to the weather, it was a smooth flight and we landed safely.
And so here I am after 3 hours plus on the plane, Noi Bai International Airport was a mid-size airport and the first thing I did upon arrival, was to get a local sim card because international roaming calls were expensive. I bought a standard number at only 200,000 dongs (however this only allowed me for local Vietnam calls) which was fine with me because I still had my international roaming number for urgent oversea calls.
I took an airport Taxi to Cau Giay, which was where I would be padding for my 6 days in Hanoi. The cab driver said he’d give me a discount from 350,000 to 330,000 dongs (i soon realized that it meant a MYR3.35 discount) which was not really an issue. As he drove closer to the Airport toll gate, he got out of the cab and another driver sat in, ermm… (maybe this is a norm thing to do) but it seemed a bit dodgy at the time, I guess the guy at the arrival hall was probably marketing his cab services and the real driver only came in now. Well, I showed him a paper address with a picture map and address (which I had printed and well prepared myself earlier to ensure the cab driver could understand me) and he finally drove to my destination.
Several minutes later I called my friend to say I’m in Hanoi and nearing the town to visit them. Somehow I had a feeling that the cab driver was lost as he was driving me in circles, I saw the same shops and buildings over and over again and felt like I was sitting in some merry go round, after only but making 6 uey’s around the block, I finally saw my friend outside the building. It was pretty hilarious actually except for my poor hungry stomach. Hadn’t I passed the phone to the cabbie to speak to someone local, he would have probably continued going around in circles.
Oh Boy, was I hungry, after much Hi’s and Welcomes, my friends took me to this local street place for some hawker food and I have to say, it was delicious, the marinated bbq chicken was really yummy (despite the blurry image), unlike our bbq chicken wings back in KL which is also especially popular in Chinese hawker stalls, the locals here had the whole chicken wings with its feet skewered into a stick. Back in KL the feet is thrown away or used for other things, the Chinese normally have the feet of the Chicken braised in dark sauce and served as Dim Sum but this was bbq’ed as a whole.
I couldn’t help but notice that it was common to serve this up with largely cut turnip and cucumbers. The Vietnamese love to have veggies with everything, which I find a petty healthy habit.
We also had a crisp like bread which was slightly honeyed and burnt over the grill. The crispy outside and soft inside had a nice texture and i love it!
The whole meal came up to 320,000 dongs (we had quite a plate full of chicken wings for all to share) and for drinks, I had my first sip of Hanoi Beer, cheers everyone 🙂
Back at the apartment, I got to taste some homemade caramel custard (thanks Reina) yum, and caught up with my friends before we called it a night. It was only around 4am that I settled in to bed (which was about 3am) Hanoi time, the rest went to bed earlier as they had work, class and meetings the next morning.
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