After the snafu with our hotel, I was ready to get out and about and try some local beers (that potentially weren’t yellow). Thankfully, I had read up on a place that had a variety of brews available and we were not disappointed. Even better, Caps n’ Taps had a great second-level balcony that afforded an entertaining people watching experience from above. On our first visit I had the Shade Tree (dark) lager on draft while Eric tried the Big Ken Beer. On future visits, Eric really enjoyed the Lindemann Gold which resembled a lemonade shandy in appearance and taste. I stuck with my dark lager. :)
For dinner the first night, we chose the Gourmet Corner Restaurant, which was easily one of the best meals we had in Vietnam. We started with the Hanoi fried spring rolls (the simple dipping sauce was great) and followed it up with the Bun Cha (and extra noodles) for Eric and I had a small portion of the beef pho. We also split a bottle of rose bubbly and left completely full and happy. Everything from the service to the atmosphere was excellent.
The following night we went to Gia Ngu Restaurant, near Caps n’ Taps. The service was beyond attentive and we had several people stopping by to chat with us, ask where we were from and even help us out with the ingredients in what we were eating so we could recreate the meal at home! The Hanoi spring rolls were a little better at Gourmet Corner the night before, but these were still quite good. The waitress looked at me a bit funny when I ordered the beef papaya salad as my main course, but I told her I wanted that to be my last meal in Vietnam because it was my favorite. Eric, once again, managed to order something he had to assemble himself, this time Nemnuong (minced pork with herbs) that you wrap in spring roll wrappers with herbs and noodles. We shared the same rose bubbly we ordered the night before as it was still a good deal and once again, left happy and full.
For our last lunch in Hanoi we went a little outside our comfort zones and ate upstairs at Bun Cha Dac Kim. They only serve bun cha and crispy spring rolls so we ordered one of each to split. The food was fine — although the meat was pretty fatty and the noodles and herbs were just sitting out so it didn’t inspire a freshness quality about the place. I am also certain we paid the “tourist price” for our meal as there were no prices listed anywhere and it seemed expensive for other meals we’d had. But it was an experience and we didn’t get sick as I am sure those red chilis killed anything harmful. :)