On my last day in Hanoi, following an informative visit to the Ho Chi Minh Museum (worth visiting if you have an interest in history and the Vietnam War. This guy is a national hero), I met up with Claire one last time before she went to her rural English school, and me to the high seas of Ha Long Bay.
Claire became a vegetarian a couple of years ago, after spending some time in India. I am a failed vegetarian, but most definitely enjoy vego food that is well prepared, flavoursome and that strays beyond the nauseating lettuce and tomato combination. And unlike some of its neighbours (put your hand up Japan), it is incredibly easy to find delicious, satisfying Vietnamese vegetarian food. Hanoi in particular has a wealth of vegan cafes, so my socially conscious friends, you’ll never go hungry I promise!
With a liberal use of tofu, mushrooms and other native veggies, paired with their signature chilli and lime (sans sweet fish sauce), the local take on this way of life is fresh and full of flavour.
Jalus Vegan Kitchen and Cafe in Hanoi has become a bit of an expat institution, thanks to it’s generous and hearty vegan fare, as well as yoga classes, all set in a thoughtfully decorated second floor space. Did I mention they also deliver?
Claire and I discussed the trials and tribulations of the last couple of years over the Spicy Potato Curry, Roast Vegetable Salad and Bean Me Up Bowl, with my inner social activist once again asking me why I didn’t embrace this full time. In time, my love, in time.
Departing with the promise of future catchups somewhere around the world, I spent the afternoon buying Victoria’s Secret knockoff bras (I dare you to ask for a discount!), blinged-up phone covers, and soaking in my last hours of this enigmatic city. Hanoi, I feel this won’t be the last I see of you.