Da Nang was our second longer stop in Vietnam. It was quite a contrast to purely Russian Nha Trang and quite memorable as we got a chance to live with a Vietnamese family for 3 days. We were hosted by Tien, who Sascha met when he was working in Singapore. They met on one of the hikes organized by Singapore trekking group that I found accidentally on facebook. By the way, if you are in South East Asia, check their trips, VJ the group founder organizes exciting mountain hikes at various destination across Asia.
Our host Tien and her family were very kind and hospitable. They greeted us with delicious lunch and the evening before we left, Tien’s mom cooked a mountain of sea-food Vietnamese style for us to try. We were afraid to post the photo of the dinner in order not to lose a number of friends on facebook.
The days in Da Nang turned out to be very much culinary diverse. Tien realized that we love food and made sure that every time we went for a meal it was something different and especially local central Vietnamese. The highlight probably was the snails dinner. When we were given a small plate of cooked snails in spicy sauce for 3 people to share, the first thought was that we would finish it in 5 minutes. But It took us about an hour and we were not being able to finish it all. Definitely the skill of snail eating or rather sucking the flesh out was missing. Good that we had a big noodle soup before, it is better not to be hungry when you eat snails for the first time. It takes time and patience 🙂
Another must try in Central Vietnam is Vietnamese iced coffee. Now as we have tried it across the country, we both agree that the best coffee we ever had was on a side of the road somewhere close to Hoi An in a tiny cafe full of old men sipping their strong awakening drink. And it cost us only 6000 Dong (25 euro cent or about 7 Kč!). I will not forget that chocolaty-nutty rich flavour of the very strong thick Vietnamese coffee. Central Vietnam produces a lot of the coffee that Europe consumes, here however it tastes fantastic and spending hours in a cafe is something we very much enjoyed on a daily basis.
Apart from tasting every food we saw, as an introduction into the culture and life-style, Tien took us to see the sunrise at the beach at 4 in the morning. To our surprise, the beach was full of people of all ages working out, swimming, doing morning stretching and group aerobics. It is amazing how much people are motivated and eager to stay young, fit and beautiful. We have not seen a single overweight Vietnamese too, must be something about nutrition and life-style.
Sascha and I also had a small trip around Da Nang. Tien lent us a scooter and we got out to see Hoi An and surrounding villages. Hoi An was very touristy, so we didn’t enjoy it much, but the country-side around it as anywhere was very scenic and the locals were very welcoming and friendly. We had a dip in the sea which felt much colder than the Indian Ocean in Indonesia.
The time with Tien and her family in Da Nang passed by quickly and we had to move on. Da Nang being the third biggest city in Vietnam has some sights to visit though it is not as bustling and vibrant as Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi. But this it is why there are not as many tourists mostly those transiting to Hoi An and Hue, which makes Da Nang a really nice, quiet, enjoyable and truly Vietnamese city. I would love to spend more time there, thank you Tien for making our stay memorable and special 🙂