Monday, February 15, 2010

Let's Eat - Thuy Dong Restaurant

According to my guidebook, Nha Trang is considered "party central". American soldiers came here for R&R during the war and must have loved the beach. Chuck had already been here on a photo shoot, and insisted that we go back and look at the water, put our feet in it, and enjoy some fresh air without the heavy humidity and heat we had felt all along the trip. Walking around has always enabled me to discover buried treasures.

This is Tran Phu Street

The main drag by the waterfront is Tran Phu Street where one is likely to find lots of guesthouses and hotels. On the corner of Le Thanh Ton and Tran Phu was a spacious restaurant, with no doors on three sides. Far from luxurious, its appeal came from the wonderful breezes and great music choices. We had spotted pizza on the menu and decided that we were finally going to give this a try!

This is also Tran Phu Street facing the water

It's tough to get bad food in Vietnam. I must have said this to you before. This charming restaurant, is sort of half-outdoorsy and half not, in that there are no closures, but there's a roof above. And it sits right across the street from the wonderful XQ Arts & Crafts Center, which I wrote about here.

To the right of the restaurant, I could see an ad for rooms at less than $10 a night! A few other people were seated, but the ones that always catch my eye, and a disapproving one at that, are the couples where an older man, usually a Westerner, is flirting and lunching with a native female who could pass for his grandchild. Sorry, folks, I’m just a bit hard on this reality, even though I have seen it countless times during my trips to Asia.

 there's always someone at work anywhere you go

About 30 minutes after we've been seated, we are informed that pizza will not be available until 4pm, which means another 2 hours. The menu is extensive enough that we can make another choice, and it’s rather easy. Pasta with seafood it shall be for Chuck, and I’m going for the seafood salad. And while we wait, let’s have that diet Pepsi that is a rarity in some areas. Entrees start at VDN35,000 (which is about $2.25 or so).

Have a look at the photos and realize that both of us licked our plates clean!!

 my amazing seafood salad

 Seafood pasta with tofu
My salad had enormous pieces of conch, rice noodles, tomatoes, cauliflower, frisée lettuce, and red cabbage, all tossed and wonderfully seasoned with the unmistakable lemongrass and other citrus flavors. The seafood pasta had cubes of tofu, shrimp, and green scallion pieces and went down apparently without a hitch.

As we were eating, the owner, a woman, was directing a worker with some wiring, and every few minutes, a street vendor would catch our eye and explain her offerings, all neatly stuffed in see-through pockets of her showcase. Persistence is an art here.

 they are equipped with just about anything you can think of

Across the street was a huge sign that talked about women in art, and I asked everyone on the staff about the sign and if it meant that a museum lied behind there or if there was a special festival held about these women artists. I was bewildered that no one had a clue. After gulping down our iced coffee, we went across the street to investigate.

In Vietnam, one does not ask for diet Pepsi, but rather Pepsi or Coke "lite" or with no sugar. It is not surprising that the word "diet" is incongruous with life in Vietnam. Nobody is fat. However, if you are keen on finding these, stock up on them once you find them, as they are not everywhere.

To the right is one of those absolutely charming beach houses you find as you amble around. Those Santa Fe colors are stunning, aren't they?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this, a wonderful reminder.