Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Mango Room, Hoi An

Our last stop - Hoi An. And we were in love!

Unlike the hustle and bustle of Hanoi and our bad experiences that we had in Hue, Hoi An was godsend. It's SO laid back and as we didn't wander out of the old town, really very charming. Another plus point, nearly every shop were either tailors or cobblers. They can make almost anything up from scratch for fraction of the cost of what you would get them for off the rack. Ahhhh Heaven! We didn't plan to get anything made but left two extra bags filled to the brim with clothes, clothes and more clothes... and a pair of boots each. Yes, hand-made boots that fit like a glove.

Dragging ourselves away from our oasis of a hotel (Ha An, which I would definitely recommend to anyone to who's heading out that way), we made our way to some food and ended up at Mango Room. Set up by a Vietnamese-American guy, it's quite a hip little place down by the river serving up some really good fusion food (so what isn't fusion nowadays?).

As we've been pretty good throughout this trip, we decided to reward ourselves with a couple of cocktails. Here's my mango mojito with lots of mint and ice. Could have been a little stronger on the alcohol front though.

Jo's passion fruit cocktail - not sure what it was but there was lime, passion fruit and ... rum? There's seems to be a trend here... me with my mango and Jo with her passion fruit :)

To accompany our drinks, a plate of nachos with salsa, which were on the house...I think. We could have been so sloshed by the end of the evening and not have noticed it on the bill..heh.. This dish was quite good - it wasn't amazing. Home-made (made in-house rather than brought in) tortilla chips with a salsa of tomatoes, onion, black beans and mango.

Next up, our shared starter of fresh rice paper rolls with prawn and mango served with a peanut based sauce. It was OK, not fantastic. The prawns were fresh and the mango, sweet. Nice combination but the sauce was a bit lacking...and Jo isn't a peanut fan. Bummer for her :(

My main course of pan fried fish (talapia?) with a of buttery sauce of onions, tomatoes and black pepper. Yup, black pepper was definitely up there as a main ingredient, which was the downfall for a very nice dish. The fish was very fresh, the taste was great but the little black crunchy flecks of pepper made this dish really spicy and quite unpleasant. It came served with boiled beans (boring) and a prettily wrapped parcel of rice vermicelli.

Jo's main of pan fried beef and prawn rolls. A little surf & turf going on there and it was delicious! Thin slices of tender beef wrapped around whole plump prawns. I really regretted not getting this dish for myself - yes, it was that damn tasty. However, the heavy hand of pepper stuck again. You can see bits of black pepper everywhere! What a shame ... both mains could have been real winners. This was served with the same beans and rice vermicelli.

Dessert? Who needs dessert when there's cocktails :D Here we have a twist on the Spanish classic of sangria - passion fruit sangria. It was like drinking fruit juice with lots of fruity bits in it - watermelon, dragon fruit, slices of lime and passion fruit. Emm yummy!

The meal wasn't cheap at around £10-15 per person if memory serves me correctly. But they're serving to foreigners like us who'll happily send too much money on holiday and we left pretty damn happy - ahh..thank you alcohol..happy days :)

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