Sunday, July 1, 2012

Oh, the food!

     That is the first response I got from most people when I told them about my trip to SE Asia. I wondered, what about the food? Was it really that good? I mean, what? I hadn't had much asian food. I mean I liked chinese food but what about Vietnamese, Thai and Cambodian? I didn't know what to expect, especially being a vegetarian. I assumed there would not be much for me. Don't asians love fish? Can't eat that. Sushi? gross.
     My first asian meal while actually in asia was at the airport while stranded in Osaka, Japan. it was udon noodles, which I'd had before and loved. Good start, but I was most nervous about Vietnam. I'd read it was one of the hardest countries for vegetarians and that most vietnamese didn't even know what a vegetarian was. Great. I brough cliff bars and plenty of shakeology.
     My second meal was in Thailand-to my surprise finding a meal was easy. I had fried tofu and called it a night after our ridiculously long ordeal at the airport. Then it happened. We arrived at our hotel in Hanoi and asked the manager if there was place we could finsd a vegetarian restaurant. "vegetarian?" she asked. gulp.  Will she even know what that means? She was probably going to suggest fish. "We have a great vegetarian restaurant here" she said while pointing to a map. What?! An actual vegetarian restaurant? Was this possible? Most american towns don't have vegetarain restaurants. We ended up eating there twice and  it was great. Turns out it is the number one rated restaurnat in Hanoi on trip advisor. Go figure- Vietnam does vegetarian.
      It didn't end there. We ate great all over Vietnam. Vegetable fried rice, vegetabnle noodles, spring rolls, vegetable soup, tofu, they had it all and it was easy to find. I have some impressive pictures of one meal served to us on an island in the Mekong River. A cucumber man stadning atop a bed of rice holding baskets filled with rice. A cucmuber man paddling down a spring roll river on a traditional Vietnamese boat also made of cucumber.
       Similar meals appeared in Cambodia- tofu, vegetable fried rice and an asian favorite, french fries. Sweet potato fries and regular fries are all over asia. So far in Thailand I've had good luck, too. Vegetarain Pad Thai and fried rice was on the menu just this afternoon. And the fruit; it is fresh and it is everywhere. You can get it cut up and served to you on the spot; banana, mango, watermelon, durian, lyche, pineapple, papya, avaocado, coconut. Fruit shakes are available nearly every block- they just throw whatever you want in a blender or juicer with ice and bam- a delicous shake. I had a coconut one for dessert today. Going to SE asia? Oh, the food!

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