July 7, 2005

eating in dalat

dalat has been great for food.

when we got there we went to the central market, which had indoor, outdoor, and covered sections. the upstairs of the indoor section was all food stalls, and here i had some ok pho. (but not great.) eventually, i found some really good pho at a little place on the walk from our hotel to the market. it was great shop and i went there once a day. the pho was really good. all the right spices, and a mixture of raw and cooked beef. interestingly enough, the pho resturant also had really tasty coffee. unlike other places, here when they served the coffee, they also provided a plastic glass of hot water that you could place your coffee glass into to keep it warm.
this was also the first place i found some banh mi that i really liked. the rolls were fresh and light and i had them filled with some butter, cilantro, shredded carrot and some white stuff (also shreadded and i'm not sure what it was) cooked pork or chicked, and pork crack (i'm not sure what the stuff is really named, but this is the nick name my roomate gave it, it's pork that has been made into a really light, almost crystaline, hair like structure.) this was finished off with some really spicy chili sauce. the banh mi were different from the ones back home in that the amount of fillings was really small and the rolls were very light, so i would usually eat at least two during the day. but this was ok since they were only about $0.25 USD a piece. the banh mi shops where also pastry shops that had both sweet and savory pastries that we also picked up. ronda really liked the small, light angel food cake pastries that were an excellent coffee snack.
lastly we decided to splurge and go to the most expensive resturant in dalat that we knww of, Le Rabelais in the sophitel hotel. we had the place to ourselves most the night with our own personal piano player (who i assumed was actually tape until i saw him at the end of the night.) there were two fixed menu's for the evening, ronda got the one for $19 USD and i got the one for $32. the reason i got the more expensive one was because it had cheese course. the cheese course was a bit of a sad joke. i had some tasteless brie, a piece of a slice of roquefort from a plastic container, some munster, some boursin, and (the best cheese on the plate) some ok reblochon. i felt a small tremor when the served it to me... i think it was caused by every dead frenchman in the world rolling over in their graves. but the cheese plate aside the dinner wasn't all horrible. the deserts and apetizers were just ok, and the main courses were actually pretty good. i had duck (and it was served pratically rare) with lots of fresh vegetables, mashed potates, and an interesting pepper sauce. ronda had some pork in a mustard sauce with veggies and potatoes as well. dalat is known for growing vegetables and the ones we got were great. a nice variety, very fresh, and not over prepared.

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