January 13, 2003
A Meal to Remember
Bach Dang Hotel in Ha Long was very decent last night. We were on our own for dinner, so we just opted to eat at the hotel, in the hopes of some more western style food.
This morning, a tired group set off for Hanoi by bus. Jimi Hendrix only managed to keep some of us awake, if that says anything. Once in Hanoi, we were given some time in the Guoman to freshen up before it was back on the bus, heading for a restaurant none of us will soon forget. I shouldve known I was in for something outrageous when preserved animals in glass jars greeted me in the entrance of the restaurant.
Upstairs, I walked into a demonstration with still-living snake specimens, cobras to be exact. Never again do I wish to see serpents slit open and their beating hearts placed in shots of alcohol, but I feel somewhat special to have experienced such a thing this once. The meal was spectacular. Most, not me though, enjoyed snake (etc.) wine and all enjoyed the ten-course meal laid in front of us by the excellent restaurant staff. It was like the movie Forrest Gump. We had fried
snake meat, snake pate, snake soup, snake bits, fried snake skin, snake springrolls, the list goes on and on. It was incredible and all courtesy of Dieps lovely and generous family. They are truly wonderful people.