Rick Stein's food tour across Vietnam
We're back in the UK for a few more weeks still so it was great to see Vietnam featured on primetime TV on Thursday night, when Rick Stein, a popular UK chef, spent an hour travelling and eating through Vietnam as part of his Far Eastern Oddessey, which can be viewed here on BBC iPlayer.
We really enjoyed the show - and it was great to see a travel program on Vietnam where for once the food featured was about much more than macho presenters drinking snake's blood - food in Vietnam is so divine it always annoys me to see countless presenters grossing-out over dishes that many people in Vietnam wouldn't eat, either.
Retracing the journey
For those who have developed a taste for Vietnam after seeing Rick's show, here's a quick itinerary of his travels, should you wish to explore some of the places he saw and foods he ate!
He started the show visiting floating villages and the market in Chau Doc, at the border with Cambodia, deep in the Mekong Delta, before heading to the trading hub of the Mekong, Can Tho - famous its floating market, though he didn't pay it a visit.
Next he headed to Ho Chi Minh City, where he stayed in the gorgeous Hotel Majestic where Graham Greene once stayed. On the banks of the Saigon river and full of colonial charm it is a great place to stay when visiting Saigon - as is the Hotel Continental, where Rick ate opposite the Opera House.
He then visited Ben Thanh Market with Cathy from Gastronomy Blog who used to blog on Vietnamese food from Saigon - her blog archives still have a wealth of knowlege on street food in the city (as does Noodlepie) so if you are planning a visit check these out to get an idea of the tasty treats in store.
Skipping across the 1,000 odd miles and many great destinations in Central Vietnam, Rick headed straight to Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, where he stayed in the impeccable Sofitel Metropole, another beautiful colonial building - watching the gorgeous food, beautiful scenery and luxury hotels he was enjoying we were all feeling quite jealous by this point! He finished off the trip, as is customary, to Ha Long Bay, one of Vietnam's most famous sites of natural beauty. With thousands of beautiful islands rising from the sea its a fantastic place to go for a cruise.
If you're feeling inspired you may want to check out these tour companies that offer culinary trips to Vietnam:
A Taste of Vietnam - 14 days of delicious Vietnamese food as you travel from the North of the country to the South with Imaginative Travellers
Gourmet Indochina - a 14 day feast across Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, taking in the major sights and the best food, with the majority of time spent in Vietnam. From Gap Adventures.
Halong Bay Junk Cruise - see Halong Bay in style on a beautiful Junk with Intrepid Tours
Connections Vietnam offer cooking classes and street food tours in Saigon