Monday, May 14, 2007

Hanoi the best place to ...
Just reading the latest Time magazine (asian ed.) with a "best place to blankety-blank in Asia" feature.

Hanoi, or more specifically Nha Tho street in Hanoi, is.... wait for it... (drum roll please!) described as the best place to do your Christmas shopping. Suppose they might be right. Last Christmas a quick two-hour shopping spree saw me loaded up with a pile of lacquer, propaganda bits and pieces, a few Vietnam t-shirts and sure didn't the extended de Burca clan just love it all.

What's slightly more contentious for expats would be the recommendation to start off with a coffee in Cafe Mocha, a place pretty much no one I know would touch with a twenty foot bamboo ladder from Hang Vai street (you know the place with the twenty foot bamboo ladders?). Yes, it was the who's-who-of-Hanoi place to eat Sunday brunch circa 2000 when they had copies of the Newyorker and a New Orleans-born manager but man alive did it plummet in standards a few years back (three? four? five?) - visible rats, menus falling apart, waiters who had clearly given up on life and embraced ennui. Oh and the food was rapidly in decline too.

HOWEVER, it still is a mighty spot/location, so that's what still cajoles the customers inside, mostly tourists methinks, and the coffee might very well be decent but can't vouch for it anymore. And although at this time of year it's a bit early to be Christmas Shopping, when in Rome... er...

Personally I think Hanoi is the best place to eat out six-nights a week. But each to their own.

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