I’m not sure what is going on, but since I’ve been back in the UK my time has been sucked in all sorts of directions. I don’t seem to get much time to myself and I certainly don’t get the time to blog – both read and write – that I usually get in France.
This may be down to me having more of a social life here than there – but actually it’s down to me trying to fit a year’s worth of ‘time with friends’ into a month. Knackering is what it is. And expensive.
Anyway, life is going by at an alarming place and remembering things to share with you all is hard. I was sat in a Vietnamese restaurant in London at the weekend and thought “must remember this for the blog”. Do you think I can remember what it was? Can I buggery.
That said, in the Vietnamese restaurant with friends, we talked lots about the time we went to Vietnam. It was the first time that we had travelled as a foursome – London Girl Friend’s boyfriend was new at the time and neither myself nor Best Girl Friend knew him very well. We both bonded with him in Hanoi over our mutual love of giddy drinks and strange cities.
Vietnam was a great trip and we went from Hanoi (fabulous) in the north to the Mekong Delta (hot, hot, hot) in the south, stopping at lots of great places along the way.
We had some hilarious moments along the way, including me falling out of a coracle into the South China Sea and being ‘saved’ by a tiny Vietnamese lady; BGF falling foul of an over-zealous Saigon traffic cop and being made to re-cross the street and cross again where it was less dangerous; ordering enough food to feed a village at most meals and LGF getting stuck in one of the Cu Chi tunnels.
But the number one memory of Vietnam? The nems.
For those of you not familiar with the nem, it is a mini ‘spring roll’ – a square of filo pastry, filled with a range of unidentifiable items, rolled and deep fried until caramelised, sticky and crunchy. Heaven truly does come in two-inch lengths, contrary to popular belief...
We were eating so many that we had to introduce a ‘nem quotient’ in order to push ourselves to eat something else. The quotient was pretty high (a dozen per day, per person) but we usually exceeded it.
The highlight of the trip should have been the evening we arranged with a restaurant to show us how to make them. Five minutes in and we knew we were better suited to eating them than to making them. My ‘pork sausage fingers’ really aren’t made for rolling delicate sheets of pastry into neat and tidy tubes of deliciousness. It didn't take long before the chef had taken my tools of me and told me to sit down and eat. I happily obliged, unsurprisingly.
So as you’d expect, the trip to the Vietnamese restaurant this weekend saw us exceeding our quotient once again. It was all washed down with amazing Hue Beer, flown in from Vietnam, for our pleasure (we chose to ignore the food miles issue for one day).
If ever you’re in London and looking for a good Vietnamese restaurant, head for Kingsland Road in Shoreditch/Hackney. There are at least 20 restaurants all in a row, all offering amazing cuisine that won’t break the bank.
But if you do, be sure to have a nem for me.