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By Anna Sarjeant

Ask anyone who’s been to Vietnam about the food and their eyes glaze over. Vietnamese food is sublime and Vietnamese chefs are culinary magicians. Inherently herbilicious - that's not a word but it should be - ready yourself for a taste sensation.

1. Hanoi: Vietnamese smoothies
Start with a smoothie. Locally called sinh to, you'll find them everywhere in Hanoi, and their flavours are as unusual as they are vast. From fresh dragonfruit to jackfruit, lock lips and get refreshed.

HOT TIP: From smoothie to happy hour drinks. Ascend to the top of Hanoi's Sofitel Hotel for 360 degree views from the Summit Lounge. This is where the city high rollers hang out, so follow suit and flash your dong. 


2. Hoi An: Market and cooking class
Know how to dress a banana salad? Nope. Well the Vietnamese do and this morning you’ll be introduced to the art of traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a half-day cooking class. Hoi An's central market is the perfect place to start; to prod, pick and purchase your produce, accompanied by a chef. Take a leisurely boat trip on the Hoi An River and a walk through the herb garden, and then it’s back to the kitchen for a two hour cooking class with Red Bridge chefs. Do you get to eat afterwards? You bet!


3. Halong Bay: Seafood
In Halong Bay, all that kayaking between enormous limestone karsts and orange-lit grottos will work up quite an appetite. While cruising the picture-perfect Halong Bay on-board a traditional junk boat, activities are followed by delicious seafood dinners. Enjoy the freshest oysters, grilled monkfish and shrimp rolls. Forget the sea legs and strap on your hollow ones.    

4. Hue: Fine dining  
Eat like a king (or queen) in the former home of Vietnam’s Emperors. Hue is history itself; a 19th-century Citadel comprising the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City and a replica of the Royal Theatre. A grand old affair, book a dragon boat cruise down the Perfume River and enjoy a selection of the region’s finest fare while soaking up views of Hon Chen Temple, Minh Mang Tomb and Thien Mu Pagoda.

5.  Hoi An: Street food & priceless views 
You don’t need a lot of dong to dine like a deity in Hoi An. Street side dining is where it’s at, amidst cafes sprawling out onto the streets and tiny plastic stools cramped with a hundred patrons, all enjoying food orgies of gargantuan proportions. Cross the small lantern-lit bridge and turn left onto Bach Dang Street for epic dining 'across the river'. Quality still costs cents over this way, but the views across Hoi An are priceless. 

Instant inspiration! Don't know your Banh Mi from your Banh Can? Click Here for the full lowdown on Vietnamese dishes. 

6 Danang: Seafood Trail
Life’s a beach in Danang. And therefore the seafood is sublime. Just 40 minutes’ drive from Hoi An, discover the Danang Seafood Trail. A fully guided tour of the city by night, you’ll dip into half a dozen local hangouts, try the delicacies the locals love to devour and seafood so fresh it's barely left the net. 


7. Quy Nhon: Soft shell crab
Follow the coast to Quy Nhon, another beach-blessed shoreline serving plenty of seafood and a dreamy vista. Line your stomach with huge plates of prawns and barbecued squid while soaking up a golden coastline from the promenade. Looking to get your money’s worth? Order soft-shell crab and eat the crab, its shell, pincers and all.    

8. Hanoi: Vietnamese tea tasting
Visit the Presidential Palace, war remnants museum and the Cu Chi Tunnels. Or you might decide a tea tasting tour is more your (tea) bag. Hatvala Coffee and Tea, centrally located at 44 Nguyen Hue Street, offers Vietnamese tea tasting in their specialty salon. From ‘Mountain Mist’ to green, oolong and black (Wild Boar Black Tea is particularly robust – dabble if you dare) there are leaves to tease (teas? Somebody stop us) every palette. 


Ready to treat your taste buds to Vietnam? Pop in-store to create your perfect Asian holiday with one of our expert consultants, or Click Here to check out all our current Vietnam deals. 


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