Vietnam Highlights and a Prequel to Delicious Vietnamese Recipes


I’m back!! Though this comes as no surprise, I had an amazing trip. Not only did I get to experience an amazing country, meet a population of extremely resources, resilient and entrepreneurial people, eat amazing food (maybe a little too much), BUT I also was able to visit with some dear friends of mine that I am forever grateful to have. Their friendship means the world to me and to have shared some of these experiences with them is really a special gift.

Before I go onto trip details, I want to extend a special thank you to all the wonderful writers, recipe creators and business owners that I was fortunate enough to have come and grace us with their gifts and their talents. If you haven’t had the chance yet, I recommend taking some time to visit the previous 5 blog posts to familiarize yourself with some very note worthy healthy living and healthy eating blogs. Without them, I would have never been able to have this wonderful experience that will be part of me for life.

As most of you may already know, I have the gift of gab, but I will try and spare you the minute by minute account of my trip and hopefully allow you to experience some of Vietnam through photos. I’m sure they will tell you much more than I could! Besides with this many photos, who wants to be bothered with words. Pssst, that’s my subtle way of warning you that there are a LOT OF PHOTOS. I apologize in advance.

That being said there are a few things that I will elaborate on, that I think are worth mentioning.

For example, when you get a flat tire you do not need a garage. That is such a Western way of thinking…You can simply pull over to the side of the road/sidewalk and I guy will fix it for you. Right there on the spot. Brilliant!

My friend Jed getting his tire fixed.

My friend Jed getting his tire fixed.

You can buy ice cream on the street like you can in lots of countries, it just looks a little different…

Ice cream vendor

Ice cream vendor

It wouldn’t be realistic to not include a few photos from the markets since I spent a lot of time at them. I want to give a special thanks to Jed for showing me around. He took the time to explain what all the weird things were and let me try a million and one strange and wonderful foods! And some not so wonderful things. Just saying.

Market 2

Vietnam Market 1They also have motorcycles with airbags for babies…How creative. After all the motorcycle traffic is nuts! But I think the child safety seat might need a little work. A bamboo high chair either strapped on by bungee cords or just left as is may not meet most countries safety standards. This one below is especially fancy because it’s actually bolted in.

Stuff animal/baby air bag...same same.

Stuff animal/baby air bag…same same.

And then there’s plenty of random sightings.

Photo 2

After my friends showed me around Ho Chi Minh City (which I would have to say has some of the best food I tasted in all of Vietnam), my friends and I headed up to Hoi An for a little R and R. My girlfriend Dana had just successfully written her final and we were off to enjoy some quiet reprieve from the big city!

Hoi An is a UNESCO Heritage site and as a result is beautifully preserved. However, it does feel a little like the Disney World of Vietnam. It’s a little too clean, a little too picturesque and definitely touristy. As a center for silk, tailoring and custom made shoes, bags and clothing, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have some shoes made.

Hoi An

Dana doesn’t especially like riding bikes. She’s more of a runner. I think after the collision we had that day, it may be the last time this sort of things happens. So as it turns out, this type of photo (one that includes Dana on a bike that is) may just very well be the last of it’s kind…

Dana humoring me by riding to the beach.

Dana humoring me by riding to the beach.

But we did manage to get to the beach after a few more photo ops.

Sights from our bike ride from the hotel to beach.


Jed and Dana

You’d never guess is was 30 degrees C/86 F. They are not even sweaty! Me…not so much. Notice the lack of my presence in these. I was a greasy little monkey.

and finally ‘la piece de resistance’. The Beach. Cua Dai Beach was clean, quiet and relatively untouched. Magical!

Cua Dai Beach

The next day I headed up to My Son. This site includes partially ruined Hindu Temples built between the 4th and 14th Century by the kings of Champa. I was up at 4:30 am to see them at sunrise and it was totally worth it!

My SonAt this point my friends went home and I was off on my own. Here are a few highlights from the day trips I took around Hanoi, the capital city. The photo below of this stunning woman, is the one who rowed us around through what is affectionately referred to as Halong Bay on Land. Here’s an interesting factoid for all of you: They row boats with their feet…

Outside of Hanoi

Then off to Cat Ba Island to enjoy the incoming Typhoon…As you do when a ridiculous storm is heading your way. Luckily I did manage to get out for 2 afternoons and enjoy the sheer beauty of this place. No words necessary.

Around Cat Ba


Around Cat Ba 2

Cat Ba

Finally a few photos of myself, just to prove I was there and didn't just pull these off the internet!

Finally a few photos of myself, just to prove I was there and didn’t just pull these off the internet!

I’m certain it will come to no surprise that the next posts may have to do with some amazing Vietnamese recipes, so stay tuned!

14 Responses to Vietnam Highlights and a Prequel to Delicious Vietnamese Recipes

  1. Koko November 25, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    This is so fun! I love hearing your stories, and seeing this photos. Mostly, I can’t wait for your Vietnamese inspired recipes! I’m so glad you had a good time :-) That beach is stunning!

    • beyondthepeel November 26, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      Quick question Koko. Do you eat fish sauce? I’m not sure how that falls into your diet.

      • Koko November 27, 2013 at 6:18 am #

        I do eat fish sauce! It is soo widely used, isn’t it!? I am a ‘pescatarian’ but I don’t really eat eggs or dairy….just doin’ what feels right for my body rather than follow any strict guidelines. Having said that, I’m working on a vegan pho recipe right now with a vegan fish sauce :-)

  2. Tessa@ Tessa the Domestic Diva November 26, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    I absolutely adore vietnamese food, so i am excited to see what you stir up! A beautiful country, lucky you!

    • beyondthepeel November 26, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

      Oh me too! So many amazing dishes to choose from.

  3. Laureen Fox November 26, 2013 at 2:59 am #

    Beautiful photos France. Look forward to seeing and hearing more. Oh and the recipes! Not sure I’ve ever tried Vietnamese cuisine but if you’re cooking I’m sure it will be something fantastic :)

    • beyondthepeel November 26, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

      That is very sweet of you. I’m glad you think so. I think it will be a lot of fun.

      • beyondthepeel November 26, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

        I know right! It’s freakin’ cold. I came back to minus 25 but it’s warmer now, at least for a few days and then winter is really coming to stay. I’ll just have to look back on my photos and think warm thoughts. hahaha

  4. Ashley Smyth Srokosz November 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    France, I’m so glad that you had a safe and amazing time. Welcome back to winter (at least in my part of the country!)

  5. Amber H December 2, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    Hi France,

    What a treat to read this post tonight and see these beautiful pictures! Just stunning. I love how you captured the county for us. What wonderful friends you have. I cannot WAIT for the inspired dishes. Glad you are back home safe.


    • beyondthepeel December 2, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

      Hi Darling! Glad to be home and ‘see’ you!

  6. Shelley Alexander December 5, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    France, Welcome back! Your trips sounds amazing and the pictures are beautiful! You make me want to visit Vietnam now! I eat a lot of Vietnamese food here in Los Angeles and it’s one of my favorite cuisines. I know you enjoyed eating all the wonderful foods and visiting the markets and beaches. I can’t wait to see what you cook up from your travels! xo

  7. inspirededibles December 13, 2013 at 2:49 am #

    Oh, my goodness, what *incredible* photos… I feel like I was journeying along with you. Some gorgeous shots and moments France and I have to say, I’m with Dana, a terra firma (my feet must be) kind of gal myself ;-). Thank you for sharing this incredible trip with us and welcome home… I look forward to your recipes :)

  8. Jeanette Chen December 13, 2013 at 4:13 am #

    Wow, what a wonderful trip France! I went to Vietnam years ago and it was an incredible trip. Beautiful photos!

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