Day 349– March 22, 2015

We are here for the food. Our first morning, we prepare for the day with an almond croissant and a decent, but slow coffee. The 9am sun already beats down mercilessly. Over the course of the day, we stuff ourselves with fresh and delightful Vietnamese food, typically a mélange of grilled meats, fresh herbs, noodles, and lettuce leaves.

Vietnam grows more coffee than any other country, and not just for export. On the street, coffee is strong and prevalent, hot or cold, with or without sugar, morning or night. Some streets fill only with cafes. Although we spot international coffee chains like Starbucks, little old ladies serve small glasses of espresso from pushcarts.

We drink local lagers like Saigon or widely-available cans of 333. The hotel kindly stocks $1 beer cans so I can open my morning mini-bar beer before 7am, much to Greg’s consternation. I’m partial to a late-night, cold, skinny can of Zorok. Beer isn’t just mass-produced. Our first afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City, we visit Hoa Vien Brewhouse that serves up Czech-style light and dark lagers. We sit within Bavarian wood and copper. At a few tables, young Asian women attend to their older white male guests. After a liter each of beer, Greg and I hail a $2 cab back to our An An Hotel.