No matter where you travel in the world, no matter how far apart different cultures are from one another, there is always one simple factor that never changes: food brings people together. Seeing the importance of food on a global scale really opened up our eyes, and we’re not talking about the scientific importance of nutrition for the body, that’s a given, we’re talking about the social aspect. It’s part of the inspiration behind our blog.
However one meal in particular springs to mind that we want to share with you… the Vietnamese hot pot. Such a simple idea, but it’s more than just a meal, it’s an experience. We kept seeing others enjoy this hot pot every evening in Vietnam and we were eager to try it. Unfortunately our budget couldn’t allow the extra £4 it cost until near the end of our time in Vietnam, when we reached Hanoi. (Yes, our budget really was that tight as ridiculous as it sounds.) But, it was worth the wait.
A large pot of simmering broth is placed in the middle of the table on top of a hot plate. All the rest of the ingredients (we had beef, tofu, noodles,mushrooms and an array of greens) are placed next to the hot pot, served raw, along with garnishes (chilli, lime, soy sauce, salt & pepper etc).
Then, it’s time to enjoy, put your desired ingredients into the broth, leave them to cook for a few minutes and then serve, eat and repeat.
See we told you it was simple!
Sat outside a tiny restaurant, if you can call it a restaurant – it was more like someone’s house with chairs outside – sat on tiny plastic chairs, with the noise of the city creating an unmistakable atmosphere and a hot pot placed between us, we truly were experiencing Vietnam.
And the hot pot, for something so simple, was delicious! We don’t know what that broth was made from but we need to find out. Yum yum yum, and there’s a surprising amount of enjoyment gained from picking and choosing ingredients, adding them to the broth and watching them cook. Unfortunately, we forgot tofu was made from soya bean curd, we stupidly kept thinking it was safe for Lewis to eat and so he ate A LOT of it… the night didn’t end too well for Lewis…..
Key tip: if you’re intolerant to soya, don’t eat tofu.
We highly recommend you try this concept though, even in the comfort of your own home. It’s just a lovely ‘something different’. Make a broth, layout your desired ingredients and let the fun unravel.
Thanks for reading,
Linds & Lew