As a Brit who lives in the USA I totally agree with your comment about the States, but I'm not sure what that's got to do with Vietnam.
My point was that the casual traveler who just walks into the first place that looks respectable, and is expecting to find good food, chances are they will not. I know many foreigners come to the States and do this. I don't have dollars to waste, so I always try to check out the place beforehand, and then only patronize those that are rated exceptional. I know this to be the rule worldwide, they have some of the worst sandwiches and pizza I've ever eaten in New Zealand, and I was totally disappointed in the lamb down under, but when a native shows the traveler around, then one usually finds the best of food.
I remember eating a brilliant meal in Hoi an, it was lovely, just on the riverbank the sun was setting, nice warm breeze,cold bottle of beer . Some other meals where a bit average but arnt alot of places like that?
I agree a lot of places are like that, but I seem to have only had average here. Again, you can find good meals, don't get me wrong...just think Vietnamese cuisine is very disappointing.
native shows the traveler around, then one usually finds the best of food
agreed, just here the best doesn't seem to be that good
I was totally disappointed in the lamb down under
I know what's with that. I lived in NZ for 3 years and always found the beef better!
I'm currently in Vietnam and have to say that I agree with msmitheman. My husband and I like someone else who has responded to this post were a bit disappointed with the food after having travelled through China.
Having tried a number of places from eating with the locals to more high end Vietnamese restaurants, we now explain to the waiter that we want spicy food and that we would like extra garlic or anything else the dish is supposed to contain. Having briefly met an Aussie whose parents are originally from Vietnam, I noticed that she asked for a condiment called nuoc maam (not spelt like this but pronounced this way), which is basically fish sauce and ask for chillies in it if that's what you like. We've found you need to request it, you won't generally get it automatically in all restaurants.
We've once been to a restaurant and asked for red chillies (which were listed in some other dish on the menu) and told they didn't have any in the kitchen. Also last night we were in Nha Trang and chose a dish with chillies and lemongrass and ended up with chilli sauce! We had to specifically ask for red chillies, which they later sprinkled on top, as opposed to actually cooking the dish with chillies.
Hope this advice doesn't come to you too late!
That's a great website!
I think everyone should try Che - http://tinyurl.com/5tsx45
and Sugar Cane Juice - http://tinyurl.com/69rtn9
the Bia Hoi article was interesting too
Everyone has their own taste. However, in SEA, Thai food is the best, Vietnamese second. Laos, Khmer, Malay, Indo, Philipino are far behind.
No doubt Chinese food is the best in the world.